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The back of this book promises "the classic tale of a peddler, some monkeys and their monkey business."

And I love the classic tale, and so do my kids, for its sweet innocent text, its rhythmic repetitions and the unique character and palette of its illustrations. All of which are preserved here except... as I discovered when I sat down to read this to a group of kids at circle time... the delightful text. Oh, and some of the pictures.

I would definitely not call it the SAME BOOK since the text is different, and I think it's mighty sneaky of the publisher (HarperFestival) to hint that you're getting "the classic tale" when what you're getting is some editorial department's cut-n-slash decisions about what makes the book tick.

What I like about this book is the repetition of the order of the hats, which kids enjoy as well, but one full repeat is missing, and another has been pared down slightly. Some of the text has been skipped - the entire second page - and elsewhere, it's paraphrased for brevity.

Perhaps if you've never read the original, you'll enjoy this book. For me, used to the rhythms and humour of the original, this board book version is woefully lacking.

Luckily, our version is from the library, so all I have to do is give it back - no returns processing necessary. I hope others will learn from my mistake before it ends up costing them the $9/$12 (in Canada), plus shipping, that they'd have to pay to get this book home. And the disappointment of knowing it's not the "classic tale" at all.
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VINE VOICEon September 8, 2001
This adorable story is simple enough to read to infants under the age of one. By the time they are two, children can easily memorize it and begin to distinguish words on the page.
It is particularly delightful for young children, who can identify both with the peddler's nap and his anger at the monkeys in a tree, who have stolen his caps.
Altogether, the story is pure joy. Your copy is sure to wear out before your children reach the age of five, as ours did. Alyssa A. Lappen
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on March 9, 2011
I purchased this board book for my 2-year-old daughter who had fallen in LOVE with my mother's 1966 paperback edition, in an interest to preserve its delicate pages.

You can imagine my disappointment as I read it to her, discovering that important phrases, entire pages, and key details were left out of this edition, especially the rhythmic phrasing, and some of the low points of the book, completely flattening what had been a dynamic and suspenseful story. Even she noticed the difference and asked for the old book back.

I would love to be able to get a new copy of the original story, however this is not it.
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on June 8, 2001
Caps For Sale is a wonderful tale that students love to read. It is an ideal book for shared reading and offers opportunities for students to learn about the structure of a good story. Slobodkina's story of a peddler trying to sell his wares in a small town has a clear beginning, middle, and end. You need this one if you would like children to learn how to make predictions, recognize patterns, sequence events, and notice setting elements. This book is a "must have" classic in any K and 1st grade classroom.
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A folktale fastforwarded to 1940. In this fine lighthearted little yarn, author Esphyr Slobodkina reinvigorates the folk tradition with a marvelous story. In it, a peddler looses his hats to a tree of 16 chattering monkeys and must find a way to get them back. There is no overwhelming complexity in the text of this tale, but sixty-some years after its original publication there is still great charm in its words. Accompanying the staid story is a series of brightly colored illustrations. The peddler seen here is not your classic workaday schmoe in dirty clothes and a five-o-clock shadow. He is prim and pristine. With a moustache like Hercule Poirot's, a smart black suit, and a pair of cheerful red spats he is a picture of competence and sterility. Which makes his eventual foot-stomping, fist-shaking temper tantrum at the mischievous monkeys all the more amusing. I was particularly taken with the monkeys response to the peddler's demands. All they say is, "Tsz, tsz, tsz". Who knew we shared this phrase with our simian kin? Slobodkina has created a precise little tale. Though she never says it, sixteen caps sit atop the peddler's head (his preferred method of peddling his wares, doncha know) and sixteen monkey pinch them. The combination of bright colors, funny monkeys, and the dapper little peddler man make this a real treasure of 1940s children's literature.
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on July 10, 2005
When I was a child in the early '60s, Captain Kangaroo (remember him?) would read different books on his TV program. That was my introduction to Caps For Sale. I thought I'd come across the NEXT GREAT BOOK, not knowing that it was already over twenty years old when I'd heard it. Back then, I'd always marvelled at how the monkeys stole every cap EXCEPT the peddler's own checkered one. Now my little four year old genius asks the same question, except it's more in the line of: "Mom, didn't the monkeys like the checked cap?" Or, "Mom, how did they have enough monkeys for all the caps except the checked one?" I am amazed at the concepts this story can bring about. Counting (the caps in each group), sorting (the caps by color), how 'simple' the monkeys were ("Mom, didn't they know that the caps would fall?"). And here I thought it was just the NEXT GREAT BOOK (at least, in my six year old mind). Having my kids gave me the perfect 'excuse' to have this book as an adult ;-)
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on November 16, 2013
Don't buy it. The board book is missing the first part of the story; it starts after setting the story up. This is too bad, because board books are so wonderful for little ones whose language and interest in stories is ahead of their dexterity. I'm disappointed.

Another reviewer said that the newer versions are not quite the same as the original versions (1947,1949, and 1968 I think). I can't vouch for that, but if you're buying this book because you remember enjoying it yourself and now want to share it with your children or grandchildren, you might want to search for vintage editions.

An afterthought: Amazon was wonderful about refunding my money for this item.
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on April 4, 2008
I loved this book as a child, now my baby does, too.

This new boardbook edition (2008) is slightly different from the original edition in that a drawing or two are different and the text has been changed slightly. I am making my comparison to a "full-sized" hardcover edition published many years ago that I checked out from my local public library.
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on March 25, 2002
I loved this book when I was young. I picked it out for my daughter because it brought back such fond memories from my own childhood. It's now become her favorite book to read. We both know it by heart.
We enjoy adding activities to the storyline. My 2 1/2 year old enjoys acting out the movements of the peddler and the monkeys. When it gets to "...and what do you think he saw?" we go through a list of many things he might see up in a tree - even though we know it's "Monkeys!" Turning the page to find the monkeys is always a thrill for her.
This is a must have book in any children's book collection. I highly recommend it.
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on October 23, 2002
The book "Caps For Sale: A Tale of a Peddler, Some Monkeys, and Their Monkey Buisness" was written and illustrated by Esphyr Slobodkina. The book is about a man who is a pedder and he sells caps. He carrys a whole bunch of caps around on his head. He wears his own cap, followed by a bunch of gray caps, then a bunch of black caps, and finally some red caps. One morning he was walking around town, but no one wanted to buy any caps. He decided to go to the park and take a nap since he couldn't sell any caps. He leaned up against the tree and began to sleep. When he woke up he reached to make sure his caps were there, but they were gone. He looked all around but did not see any of the caps. Finally he looked up and saw a tree full of monkeys, each wearing one of his caps. He yelled at the monkeys and stomped on the ground, but all they did was imitate him. Finally he took off the one cap that was left on his head and threw it on the ground because he was so mad. The monkeys imitated him once again and threw their hats down from the tree. He gathered his caps and went back to town again. I think this was a very good book, especially for younger children.
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