|Image from BarnesandNoble.com|
A peddler sets out one day to sell caps. He places them on his head; first, his own grey checked cap, then four grey caps, four blue caps, and finally four red caps on the very top. No one wants to buy a cap that day, so he decides to take a nap under a tree. When he wakes up, his caps are gone, leaving just his grey checked cap! He looks left. No caps. He looks right. No caps. He finally looks up and sees a tree full of monkeys, each one wearing a cap. He shakes his fist at the monkeys and they shake their fists back. He stomps and they stomp. Exasperated, the peddler throws his grey checked cap on the ground and the monkeys throw down their caps, too!
This classic book, first published in 1940, features simple illustrations of the mustached peddler and the cheeky monkeys. Like the illustrations, the text is also simple and very direct. The peddler’s repeated call, “Caps! Caps for sale! Fifty cents a cap!” has a great ring to it and children love to say it along with the peddler.
Naturally, this book is a wonderful addition to a hat themed storytime. Pair it with the rhyme, Caps for Sale, or one of the other hat rhymes, songs, or crafts I’ve featured in previous posts.
Make some caps and read this book with a stack of caps on your head, just like the peddler. Try purposely stacking the hats wrong and see if the kids correct you (my bet is on the kids). It’s also nice to read this story with a flannelboard, and then the kids can watch you stack the caps.
After you read the book, the kids can see how many caps they can stack on their head. You could also have a caps relay. Each child must walk across the room and back without dropping any caps before they can stack them on the next child’s head. The monkeys mimic the peddler, which is a great excuse for a game of Simon Says.
Use this book as a springboard to learning about patterns. Cut out paper caps and ask the kids to work together to stack the caps in the same order as the peddler. Then make the game increasingly harder by changing the order and number of caps.
Check out the Ready to Read guide from King County Library System for more discussion questions and ideas for sharing the book with your child.