Caps for Sale! A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and their Monkey Business

Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and their Monkey Business by Esphyr Slobdkina. HarperCollins, 1940.

Slobodkina’s use of an adult protagonist empowers children one cap at a time. As he tries to reclaim his caps from the mischievous monkeys, the child-reader is one step ahead, seeing the solution to his problem before he does. The author highlights this through simple illustrations that make use of the same or similar scenes and angles in most spreads, drawing attention to the small details that change. Throw in some number and color concepts, onomatopoeia, repetition, occasional internal rhyme, and a classic is born.

I’m still slightly bothered that the man never got his lunch. A lesson in delayed gratification perhaps?