Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Caps for Sale

Oh, how we love Caps for Sale!  What a wonderful, funny, classic children's book!

This classic tale by Esphyr Slobodkina was first published in 1940.  The story is of a somewhat unusual peddler who has a very unusual encounter with a lot of monkeys.  

One of the things we love about this book is the repetition.  The peddler carries his caps on his head -- first his own black and white checkered cap, then the gray caps, the brown caps, the blue caps, and the red caps on the very top.  This sequence is repeated several times within the story, as is the peddler's chant -- "Caps!  Caps for sale!  Fifty cents a cap!"  

The best part of the story happens when the peddler takes an afternoon nap under a tree and his caps are stolen by a large group of monkeys.  The poor peddler has lost his caps and becomes quite frustrated, while the silly monkeys just tease the angry peddler by imitating him and saying "tsz, tsz, tsz!"

In the end, the peddler gets his caps back, thank goodness, and continues on his journey selling caps.  It's an absolutely wonderful story that is funny, fun to read, and it's fun for the kids to participate and imitate the angry peddler just as the silly moneys do.

I had never read Caps for Sale as a child, this is one of the many wonderful children's books that I missed... we discovered it at my mother-in-law's house with my children. (I adore her for keeping a small bookshelf full of great children's books.)  Thank you Grandma for introducing our family to this book -- we got our own copy for Christmas and I'm thrilled to have this in our collection.

Caps for Sale (paperback)


My Readable Feast said...

We have my husband's old copy of Caps for Sale since my mother-in-law saved all his books. Now my children enjoy reading it!

Karen said...

That is wonderful! I am thinking about keeping lots of our special books for grandchildren too -- at least the ones that survive the love of our 3 boys!

I hope to be a good mother-in-law someday!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE Caps for Sale!! I remember reading it (with that same cover) when I was little, and we recently found it at the library, too. How fun -- my 3-year-old was reciting the whole thing after just a couple of reads!

Karen said...

Before I purchased a copy we checked it out of the library too -- it was nice because the librarian smiled and commented how it's also one of her favorites.

Katie said...

I love Caps for Sale, it's definitely found a home on my bookshelf!


As a former librarian,I worked as an assistant in a Sydney "Special School" in 1980s. BOOK WEEK was a big event where we could get the profoundly physically disabled children to portray book characters. As a library assistant I have a photo of myself, in 1983, dressed as the pedlar, trying to balance caps on my head!
The kids loved the tale ofcourse.
Judy Newton in Blaxland NSW Australia