Caps for Sale

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Caps for Sale
The cover of the first edition of Caps for Sale.
Author Esphyr Slobodkina
Illustrator Esphyr Slobodkina
Cover artist Esphyr Slobodkina
Country United States
Language English
Genre Children's literature
Publisher W. R. Scott
Publication date
Media type Print
Pages 48
ISBN 978-0064431439
OCLC 13008528
Followed by Pezzo the Peddler and the Circus Elephant (Circus Caps for Sale)

Caps for Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys and Their Monkey Business is a children's picture book, written and illustrated by Esphyr Slobodkina and published by W. R. Scott in 1940.[1]


Based on a folktale, the story follows the life of a mustachioed cap salesman who wears his entire stock of caps on his head; they consist of his own checked cap, then a bunch of grey caps, a bunch of brown caps, a bunch of blue caps and finally a bunch of red caps on the very top. He strolls through towns and villages chanting, "Caps! Caps for sale! Fifty cents a cap!"[2]

One day, the peddler sits down under a tree to take a nap, with all his wares still on his head. When he awakens, all the caps but his own are gone — stolen by a troop of monkeys, who now sit in the tree wearing them. The peddler orders them to return his caps, scolds them, and yells at them, while the monkeys only imitate him. The peddler finally throws down his own cap in disgust — upon which the monkeys throw theirs down as well, right at his feet. He stacks the caps back on his head and strolls back to town, calling, "Caps! Caps for sale! Fifty cents a cap!"[2]


It is Slobodkina's best-known work, and has sold more than two million copies.[3] Caps for Sale is a popular read-aloud book, because its repetitive text permits children to speak the lines and thus join in the reading experience.

It won a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in 1958.[4]


  1. ^ "Caps for sale"[permanent dead link] (first edition). Library of Congress Online Catalog ( Retrieved 2015-09-27.
  2. ^ a b Raines, Shirley; Canady, Robert. Story Stretchers: Activities to Expand Children's Favorite Books. p. 158. 
  3. ^ Goldman, Ari (July 27, 2002). "Esphyr Slobodkina, Artist And Author, Is Dead at 93". Retrieved August 1, 2015. 
  4. ^ Patrick, Alisha. "ESPHYR SLOBODKINA (1908-2002)". Sullivan Goss. Archived from the original on July 4, 2012.