/**/ The Purposeful Wife: Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina {1938}

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina {1938}

I was first introduced to Caps for Sale by my good friend Jen, an experienced mother of four with excellent taste in literature. My little girl S adores it, and we've had fun acting out this classic many a time.

Plot. An unsuccessful peddler of hats wanders into the countryside one day for a walk. Upon waking from his nap under a tree, he finds that a pernicious group of monkeys has stolen his merchandise. Super fun, super silly.

Author. I had assumed that author Esphyr was a man, but Esphyr was, in fact, a woman! She immigrated to the States from Siberia in the 1930s at the age of 29, and collaborated with beloved author Margaret Wise Brown {of Goodnight Moon fame} as her illustrator on several projects before attempting her own after Brown's death.
My little peddler naps under a tree
Thematic Elements. This story illustrates for readers the "monkey see, monkey do" phenomenon.

Educational Opportunities. Practice counting the caps, identifying their colors, and fine motor skills by stacking other objects {especially hats, if you are fortunate enough to have a stash of them lying around!}. Your child can also learn directions {the peddler looks in front, behind, to the left and to the right}, and simple monetary values {fifty cents a cap!}.

Hanging our monkeys in the tree
  • This PDF document features the peddler and his caps for cutting, coloring, and stacking
  • Daniele at Domestic Serenity shares her pre-schooler and first graders Five in a Row unit on Caps for Sale. So many great ideas here, like practicing fine motor skills by sticking a dry spaghetti noodle in play dough and stacking cheerio "caps" on it. This is especially great if you have an older child you are trying to teach alongside of your preschooler.
Other Resources
  • In this interesting read-aloud interpretation on YouTube, the monkeys no longer say "tsz, tsz, tsz!" but... well, you'll have to hear it for yourself.
  • I loved the voices used in this read-aloud video version. Though it seems everyone has a hard time pronouncing the author's name. I did too, so I looked it up: Es-PHEER. 

Looking for more great books to read with your preschooler? Check out the rest of this 31 Days series here!

Some of the links above are affiliate links- which means that if you make a purchase through them, I receive a small profit at no extra charge to you. But you should know that I am an avid believer in reading for free through both local and church libraries ;). Thanks for supporting The Purposeful Wife!

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