How often does a sequel pick up exactly where its predecessor left off—75 years later? Sayer, who worked for years as Slobodkina’s assistant, uses scanned and manipulated images from the classic Too Many Caps and the late author’s other work to fashion illustrations that are impressively faithful to those of the previous book.
The text, too, retains its predecessor’s folktale-style prose. The peddler still carries his caps on his head (“First he had on his own checked cap, then a bunch of gray caps…”), and the monkeys still copy everything he does. Where Too Many Caps was a story of saucy fun, Sayer sees in the monkeys’ mimicry the opportunity to set a good example.
First the monkeys learn to throw their banana peels into the trash barrel by copying the peddler; then they redeem themselves the next day by following him into the city and mimicking his cap-selling routine: “When the peddler bowed, the monkeys bowed, too. Everyone was smiling to see such a sight.” Success! The peddler sells all his caps—none the wiser about the help he’s had. Though it ends a bit abruptly, it’s a worthy successor to Slobodkina’s original. Ages 4–8. (Oct.)