Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Caps for Sale

Slobodkina, Esphyr (Author/Illustrator)
HarperCollins 2015. 48 pages
First published: 1940
ISBN: 9780064431439 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Picture Book

Text Elements:

character, recurring patterns, setting

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

This tale features a hat peddler who carries all his stock on his head. The humorous premise and repetition in the language make this an excellent story for reading aloud. “And he walked out of town—slowly, slowly, so as not to upset his caps.”

Quirky illustrations use simple forms, a limited colour palette and a unique approach to white space, to create village and countryside scenes. One image shows the peddler resting under the sprawling white branches of a tree, his caps neatly piled by colour on his head (“first was his own checked cap, then the gray caps, then the brown caps, then … the red caps at the very top”). Another shows the same branches filled with thieving monkeys, wearing the caps.

Story and images convey the peddler’s growing frustration, as the monkeys do not do what he says, (“you monkeys, you! ... give me back my caps!”), but rather what he does (fist waving, foot stamping). When the peddler throws down his own cap in a rage, a pretty display of stolen caps descend from the branches: “all the gray caps, and all the brown caps, and all….” Final images show the peddler’s moustache tilted in a smile, “And slowly, slowly, he walked back to town,” with his neatly re-stacked caps on his head.

  •  

    Define the word peddler. How might peddlers feel when they sell something? Or when they don’t? What if a peddler depends on his sales to eat that day? How does this change the way he sees his sales?

  •  

    Go for a picture walk and discuss the setting, the character and the colours, but go no further than “What do you think he saw?” Now listen as the story is read aloud and this time, predict what the peddler saw and what will happen next. Were your predictions accurate?

  •  Do a choral reading of this story. Include gestures and inflection to breathe life into the reading.
  •  

    Compare this story to I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. How are they similar and different? Use a Venn diagram to compare the characteristics of the two stories.

  •  

    Discuss the role of a peddler. What does he do with his caps?

  •  

    Go for a picture walk and discuss the setting, the character and the colours, but go no further than “What do you think he saw?” Now listen as the story is read aloud and this time, predict what the peddler saw and what will happen next. Were your predictions accurate?

  •  

    Retell the story using actions and appropriate intonation.

  •  

    In Cycle Two, compare this story to I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen. How are they similar and different? Use a Venn diagram to compare the characteristics of the two stories.

  • Citizenship and Community Life