Sunday, April 14, 2019

Book Review: More Caps for Sale by Esphyr Slobodkina with Ann Marie Mulhearn Sayer

Stars: 3 out of 5
Pros: More adventures with characters kids love
Cons: Not as fun and charming as the original
The Bottom Line:
Picture book sequel
With returning characters
But missing the charm

More Doesn’t Necessarily Mean Better

I have fond memories of the monkey business in Caps for Sale from when I was a kid, so when I made the discovery a couple of years back that there were some sequels, I was quite intrigued.  I didn’t actually pick up More Caps for Sale until recently, thanks to my library, and I found that it hadn’t really recaptured the magic of the original.

This book picks up right after the classic ends.  The peddler is walking home after having gotten his caps back from the monkeys.  Unfortunately, he doesn’t realize that the monkeys are following him home.  When he does discover them in his yard, what will he do?  And what will happen when he goes into town to sell his caps the next day?

The charm of the original is that it was so unexpected.  You really didn’t know what was going to happen until the end.  Here, if you’ve read the original, you can pretty much guess what is going to happen.  And here, the monkeys aren’t a comic and unexpected complication, they are following the peddler the entire time.

Then again, maybe it’s just because I’m an adult now.  I can’t help but view the original with the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia.  I’m coming fresh to this book now, so maybe my disenchantment with it is because I am older now.  If kids are fans of the original, they could easily enjoy finding out what happens next to these characters.

The story was started by original author and artist Esphyr Slobodkina and finished by her friend Ann Marie Mulhearn Sayer.  Fans of the original won’t notice any differences in style here at all.

It’s not that More Caps for Sale is bad; it’s just not as engaging as the original.  If your kids are fans of the original, you might want to check it out, but otherwise, you can skip it.

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