There are some books that simply stand the test of time and, sometimes, we read and we wonder why? What is it about THIS book that has such long lasting appeal, more than so many others? Why is this book such a classic? This is how I felt about Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina, until I first read it with my own child and it became the most sought after book in our house.
I'll admit that when Pickle first got this book as a gift, I wasn't inclined to pick it up. Let's be honest- I totally judged the book by its cover. The illustration on the front did not excite me, it was old, and it wasn't by any of my favorite picture book authors. But then Pickle pulled it off the shelf one night at bedtime, when he was deciding which three books he wanted me to read to him. Together, we opened it up. We read the first page, and then the next one and then the next one, until the story about a peddler selling caps in the countryside came to a close, and he immediately put it back in my hands and said "again, mama!" So we read it again, and this time, Pickle laughed as I acted out the scenes from the pages -- when I looked left and right and behind the tree for the missing caps, and when I shook my finger and "tsz tsz tszed" at the monkeys that stole them. When Pickle asked me to read it yet again, he acted out the story with me.
It's been a good year since we read this book for the first time, and it remains our favorite book to act out together at bedtime. Maybe that's why it has stood the test of time- because the story is simple yet complex in the lessons it imparts, and it is simply so much fun to get silly with the text. Whatever the reason may be, one thing is for certain: this classic, originally published in 1940, is a definite keeper.
Want the book? Get it here! Caps for Sale, by Esphyr Slobodkina. *This is an affiliate link.