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Caps for Sale

Last updated Friday, April 24, 2015

Author: Esphyr Slobodkina
Date of Publication: 2008
ISBN: 020109147X
Grade Level: 1st    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2015

Synopsis: Subtitled A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business, this absurd and very simple story has become a classic, selling hundreds of thousands of copies since its first publication in 1940. A peddler walks around selling caps from a tall, tottering pile on his head. Unable to sell a single cap one morning, he walks out into the countryside, sits down under a tree, checks that all the caps are in place, and falls asleep. When he wakes up, the caps are gone--and the tree is full of cap-wearing monkeys.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Do you have a cap?
•  What color is it?
•  What do you think monkey business (mischievous or deceitful behavior) is? What do you think happens between the peddler and the monkeys?
•  Monkey business-mischievous or deceitful behavior
•  Wares-things that are being sold by someone
•  Peddler-someone who sells things in small amounts often by traveling to different places
•  Ordinary-not unusual, different, or special
•  Disturb-to interrupt or bother

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  What did the peddler carry on his head?
•  What color caps did he have?
•  Where did the peddler look for his caps?
•  Who took his caps?
•  What does the peddler do to try to get his caps back?
•  How did the monkeys respond?
•  How did the peddler get his caps back?

Craft ideas:
•  Have kids draw the peddler's face on a piece of construction paper, and then have them cut out caps from different color or patterned paper and glue them in a stack on top of his head.
•  Have kids make a cap using a paper plate, bowl and ribbon. Cut a hole in the middle of the paper plate just large enough to fit the bowl in, but not so big that the bowl slips through, and tape the edge of the bowl to the plate. The kids can color or decorate as they like. Attach ribbon so that they can tie it on and wear.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!