Thursday, November 19, 2015

More, more, more: Caps for Sale and More Caps for Sale

Celebrating 75 years from its first publication, Caps for Sale, A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business, a Reading Rainbow Book, by Esphyr Slobodkina is now accompanied by a formerly unpublished sequel, More Caps for Sale, Another Tale of Mischievous Monkeys.

Rereading Caps for Sale, I'm struck by the beauty of the rhythm and repetition within the work.

So the peddler
picked up his caps and
put them back on his head--

first his own checked cap,

then the gray caps,

then the brown caps,

then the blue caps,

then the red caps
on the very top.

Doesn't it just resonate calmness? The sequel begins with the same opening as Caps for Sale. But the peddler considers the monkeys and how he sold no caps that day. This time as he sets an example for the monkeys, they also set an example for the peddler. He follows their lead by eating and sleeping. Journeying back to town the following morning, the peddler sells all his caps as the monkeys entertain the townspeople by imitating the peddler. They learn proper conduct from him.

Ann Marie Mulhearn Sayer wrote this sequel with story ideas from Slobodkina. The two were longtime friends, business partners, and supporters of each other. The sequel art was extracted and manipulated by Sayer from Slobodkina's paintings and illustration. The reader might initially feel the difference, if a lover of Caps for Sale, but the work pulls together with a sense of unity.

Both women believed society should instill morality and ethics in young children, and books were the perfect format to do so. Enjoy these picture books with your totz. And let us know your thoughts! (A board book release of Caps for Sale by HarperFestival is also available!)

Caps for Sale, A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business
By Esphyr Slobodkina
More Caps for Sale, Another Tale of Mischievous Monkeys
By Esphyr Slobodkina, with Ann Marie Mulhearn Sayer
Harper, 2015

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