Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina - Teaching Ideas

The peddler carries his caps on his head.

The peddler sells his caps.

 The villagers would not buy the peddler's caps.

The peddler decided to take a nap in the country.

When the peddler woke, his hats were missing. The monkeys in the tree had his caps and wouldn't give them back.

He shook his finger and stomped his feet at the monkeys and they still didn't give the caps back.

The peddler was so angry he threw his cap to the ground...monkey see, monkey do!

I love this story. I love the childhood memories it brings back. I love the simplicity of the story.  I love this story.

Listed below are reading skills, strategies and ideas that will help you create a great lesson to go along with this book.  I have also created a packet to go with it, because, did I mention I love this book?

Reading level: 2.9
Theme/subject:  creativity/imagination
Genre: classic fiction

Suggested Vocabulary/phrases: peddler, wares

Reading skills and strategies:
  • Asking questions - {possible questions before} I wonder what the story will be about. I wonder why the man is in the tree. {possible questions during} I wonder why the man carries all the caps on his head. I wonder why no one wants to buy caps. I wonder why the man did not take the caps off his head when he fell asleep. I wonder where the monkeys came from.  {possible questions after} I wonder if anyone will buy caps now.  **Remember to have your students answer/reflect their questions.
  • Author's point of view – Third person. Be sure to find 3 pieces of evidence to support this.
  • Author's purpose – entertain {evidence} It is very silly that the man wears all the hats on his head. The monkeys look silly wearing the caps. These things make a very entertaining silly.
  • Beginning, middle, end - {most important event from beginning} The peddler could not sell any caps so he took a walk to the country.  {most important event from middle} The peddler fell asleep against a tree with the caps on his head. {most important event from end} The monkeys finally threw down the hats.
  • Cause and effect – Why did the peddler hold himself very straight? So as not to upset the caps on his head. Why did the peddler put his hand up? So he could feel if the caps were straight. Why did the peddler fall asleep? Because his caps were all there. Why did the peddler look to the right and left of him? Because he was looking for his caps. Why did the peddler talk to the monkeys? Because he didn’t know what else to do.  Why did the monkeys shake their finger at the peddler? Because he shook his finger at the monkeys.  Why was the peddler angry? Because the monkeys would not give the peddler his caps back. Why did the peddler take his cap off and throw it on the ground? Because he was so angry at the monkeys for not giving him his caps back. Why did the monkeys throw the caps onto the ground? Because they were copying the peddler and that is what he did. Why did the peddler walk back to town? So he could try to sell his caps.
  • Connections - {possible text-to-self connections} getting very angry at someone because they won’t do what you want them to do.
  • Fact & opinion – (fact) The peddler wore his caps on his head. He did not sell a cap. He fell asleep against a tree. Monkeys took his caps. The peddler was very angry. The peddler got his caps back. (opinion) The peddler was a nice man. The monkeys were mean to the peddler. The peddler was enjoying his day. The peddler looks silly with all the caps on his head.
  • Main idea & details - {main idea} The story is mainly about the peddler and his caps. {details} The peddler wore his caps on his head. The peddler tried to sell his caps. The peddler slept with the caps on his head. Monkeys took the caps off the peddlers head. The peddler tried to get his caps back from the monkeys.
  • Plot - the turning point or climax in the story is when the peddler got so angry he threw his cap down on the ground.
  • Predict – What do you think the story is about? Do you think the caps will ever fall off the peddler’s head?  Do you think the monkeys will give the peddler his caps back? How do you think the peddler will get his caps back?
  • Problem & solution - {problem} The monkeys took the peddler’s hats and he can’t get them back. {solution} The problem was solved when the peddler got so angry he threw his cap down on the ground.
  • Sequencing – The peddler wore his caps on this head. He tried to sell the caps. Nobody in the village would buy his caps. The peddler walked to the country. He checked his caps then took a nap. The peddler woke up and found that his caps were missing. He looked up into the tree and saw the monkeys wearing his caps. The peddler shook his finger; the monkeys shook their finger back. The peddler shook his hands; the monkeys shook their hands back. The peddler stomped his foot, the monkeys stamped their foot back. The peddler stomped both feet, the monkeys stomped both feet back. The peddler was so angry that he threw his cap on the ground. The monkeys threw their caps on the ground. The peddler stacked his caps and headed back to town.
  • Story elements - list title, author, characters, setting, beginning, middle, end, or problem & solution.
  • Strong thought – When the peddler woke up his caps were missing. He saw that the monkeys had them in the tree. The peddler did not know what to do to get them back. What is something else you could tell the peddler to do to get them back?
  • Summarize - {someone} The peddler {wanted} wanted to sell his caps {but} but the monkeys took all of them. The peddler got so mad that the monkeys {finally} finally gave them back.
  • Theme – it is hard to reason with monkeys.
  • Visualize – The peddler sold caps, and carried them on his head. Visualize what you would sell and how would you carry it around to try to sell.

You can pick this packet up from either one of my stores.

Happy Reading!


  1. This is a great old story- I love the monkeys in it and so do my kids when I read it at school.
    It is terrific story..

    1. Definitely one of my favorite stories!
      Enjoy your day!


Thoughts and comments are always welcome!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...