Book Nook – Caps for Sale

Book Nook – Caps for Sale

“Once there was a peddler who sold caps. But he was not like an ordinary peddler, carrying his wares on his back. He carried them on top of his head.” So begins the tale of Caps for Sale, the lovely story of an unorthodox peddler and a tree full of pesky monkeys! Written and illustrated by Russian author Esphyr Slobodkina in 1940, it has remained a favorite amongst children for generations. I can remember when my kindergarten teacher read this book to our class. I immediately feel in love and have reread it many times over the years. Although the list is long and mighty, I can honestly say, this was my very favorite book as a child. Why?

I loved the absurdity of the book; a man balancing 17 caps on his head, monkey’s in trees wearing hats, and the interplay between man and monkey!

I also was empathetic to the peddler’s loss. Can you imagine losing your wares to a bunch of renegade monkeys!

Well, far be it from me to give away the end of the story, suffice to say, I’ve always been a sap for an “all’s well that ends well” read. As a bit of an aside… the peddler’s frustrated, and sometimes angry exclamation of, “You monkeys, you”, became a favorite exclamation of mine as I was raising my children, although mine was uttered playfully, and usually followed by… “Move it, monkeys!”

Caps for Sale is a perfect story for children to act out. The plot is simple, and if you reduce the number of monkeys, the cast is small. To that end, I have crafted a set of characters and props to help your children extend the story to their own imaginative play.

Meet the peddler. Ready to take a little rest under a shady tree.


Met the monkeys. Ready for a little mischief and mayhem.

Feel the frustration of the peddler, bested by the monkeys!

And, feel the exhilaration brought on by an unlikely turn of events!

The directions on how to create your own Caps for Sale storybook characters can be found HERE. The directions for making the Autumn Tree can be found HERE. Enjoy!



  1. Are you friggin’ kidding me? This goes beyond awesome. I love that book and I’ve shared it with the kids. The peddler is unbelieveable although I find myself wanting to play Mario Cart, hehe.

  2. This is one of my 2 1/2 year old son’s current favorites! He had on 4 hats on his head when we left for this park this morning. He makes up his own versions. I know what I will be doing this weekend 🙂

    Thank you!

  3. I’m so glad I found this site! We are HUGE fans of this book. I look forward to this new Book Nook.

  4. I love this book and have used it with second and third graders in learning storytelling. They worked with a lovely storyteller, Michael Katz. There is a fun version of this story in a Barefoot Book titled The Story Tree, which I also love. Thanks for creating these fun “props”.

  5. I wish I knew the whole story of Caps For Sale, Wee Folk Art! will have to get the book! I will continue to follow your inspiration! Your monkeys and caps brought to life have drawn me right in! (and we don’t even have children!) your work is totally delightful!

  6. OMG, I had not thought about that book in ages. Your take on it is absolutely wonderful. You’ve inspired me to give wee peeps a try!

  7. Just remember, folks, Michelle and I love to see your finished projects. There are many ways you can share. If you have a blog, and share your projects there, just post a link here in the comments OR you can add it to Wee Folk Arts Fickr Group OR you can add a photo to Wee Folk Arts Facebook Fan Photo Album OR you can email us pictures. You know what they say, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery", and we love to know our projects are being put to good use!

  8. With so many people loving this book I feel embarrassed to say I’ve never read it. It is definitely on our list now. I love being able to extend the life of books we love by having the children come up with ways to incorporate the books into their play. What a wonderful idea to make little people. We’ve made puppets and even diaramas, but these are just so precious. I’m a little concerned that my faces won’t come out as lovely as yours though. Why is it you don’t have an Etsy store, LOL!

  9. What a fabulous idea…and so cute! My daughter is really into this book right now. Her dad reads it the best because he does the stamping of the feet and the shaking of the fists along with the peddler. I just wish I knew how to pronounce the author’s name. We read the title pages at story time and this name really throws me for a loop!

    Thanks for sharing this great idea!

  10. How cute! I love this idea. I’ve been thinking about making some storybooks come to life and this looks like a great place to start. 🙂

  11. I just discovered your blog. I can’t believe I haven’t been here before. My eyes are tearing over. I can’t believe how generous you are sharing so many projects without charging for them. Bless you. I have just spent the last hour taking a quick peek at all your projects and I’m overwhelmed. My husband was laid off for a little more than a year and we’ve had to learn to do with less, much less. Thank God he is back to work but it will be a long time before we pay off debt. But it’s okay. We have learned to simplify. It has brought us even closer together. Going through your site I see so many things that I can make for our children. You are incrdibly talented women, and performing a great service. Bless you both. And you have beautiful children/grandchildren.

  12. Oh! Oh! This is the most perfect combination of characters, texture, color, and story. My heart is a little fluttery.

    And, thank you so much for linking to my project. So kind! I will be checking in on your projects from now on. So happy to have found your blog.


  13. Hi Kimara,

    Thanks for your comment on my blog about craft spaces. It’s funny, now that i am transitioning into my studio, I feel like I don’t have what I need in the house all the time, and I do still want to make things in here with all my people around me (as do they). The kitchen table still has many works in progress- can’t help that- but there is nothing like the feeling I have when I am in the studio. I feel like I can make anything at the drop of a hat. It is all right there and so easy. I’m in heaven!

    By the way, your blog is fantastic. Love all the wee things you make and share. Inspired!

  14. Thanks so much for the Caps for Sale idea. I made two sets yesterday–one for us and one for my daughter’s class. I added a small piece of self-adhesive black velcro (he rough side) to the the peddler’s head. It’s hardly noticeable (looks like hair) and it helps to hold his “own checked cap” in place and gives some stability to the whole stack. There’s no need to attach velcro to the base cap as it sticks to the felt without it! That way he can throw his own cap in frustration, a must for my four year old. 🙂

    1. In the directions I said I wound up making 2… 1 with, 1 without a cap glued on. Then my very smart DH had the same idea you had, and I too glued a small patch of the hook Velcro to the capless peddler’s head. Great minds, right? I’m going to go back in and add your suggestion as an option. Thanks for sharing! I’m so glad your family enjoyed the project. This is going to be a regular feature, hope you enjoy our future ones 🙂 

      1. LOL. I did exactly the same thing with Velcro hooks. although the cap doesn’t “hug” the peddler’s head as well as in your photos. Perhaps I’ll make a second one too. Thank you so much for everything on your blog. I’ve made so many things. But I love this. Always looking for ways to extend a book. I can’t wait to see what you come up with next.

  15. Way cute! Love seeing the book and then seeing your little peddler with his caps! 🙂

  16. Love the Caps For Sale project. I distinctly remember watching Captain Kangaroo reading this book aloud when I was a little girl. I made sure the Stooges had the book when they were little too….

  17. Awesome, I cant wait to try this. My boys will love it. Thanks again.

  18. I can’t wait to make this! I’ve pinned it and will be getting to it soon. Thanks for the idea!

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