Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business

Common Sense Media says

The absurd behavior keeps kids coming back.





What parents need to know

Violence & scariness
Not applicable
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that kids will love the preposterousness of the story. The artwork is accessible and the unusual setting adds to the interest level.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Monkey see, monkey do ... and the peddler too! He can't get the thieving, mimicking monkeys to give his caps back. He throws his own hat on the ground in frustration. Presto! The absurd behavior (monkeys' and peddler's) keeps readers wanting to return to this children's book classic.

Is it any good?


Esphyr Slobodkina's retelling of the old folktale gently motors the story forward while introducing fun repetitions: "First he had on his own checked cap, then a bunch of gray caps, then a bunch of brown caps, then a bunch of blue caps, and on the very top a bunch of red caps." Slobodkina's line drawings have the colors of earth and sky, plus a lively barn red. The scene is an Eastern European village, caught on a drowsy day with only the peddler about. The illustrations are so convincingly drawn that readers will feel they know the place.

The tale's rhythms, its sense of beginning and ending and beginning again, provide a wit that enchants readers. Children ages 4 to 8 read this story and offered their own version of the monkeys' "Tsz, tsz, tsz."

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the monkeys' silly behavior. Do kids ever act like monkeys?

Book details

Author:Esphyr Slobodkina
Illustrator:Esphyr Slobodkina
Book type:Fiction
Publication date:December 31, 1969
Number of pages:48
Publisher's recommended age(s):4 - 7

This review of Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business was written by

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  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging, great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging, good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging, good learning approach.
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  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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What parents and kids say

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Parent of a 1 year old Written bynikki butler April 16, 2009

i thought the book was really cute

i remember my mother reading it to me when i was a kid. i still have the book and i read it to my 1 year old already, not that he understands it but he loves me to read to him) the copy i have is pretty ols and it has the audio cassette tape with it so if mom wouldn't read it over and over again i would just pop the tape in my tape player. the book is still in good shape and the tape still plays like new. READ IT TO YOUR KIDS IT'S AWESOME!! I LOVED IT WHEN I WAS SMALL AND I STILL DO!!
Kid, 11 years old December 29, 2010


it is nice.
Parent of an infant year old Written byteacherpeach_68 March 30, 2009


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