February 21, 2018

‘Caps for Sale’ Creator Dies at 93

By Walter Minkel

Esphyr Slobodkina, the Siberian-born author and illustrator of Caps for
(HarperCollins), the children’s classic about a peddler and some wily
monkeys, died at her home in Glen Head, NY, on July 21. She was 93.

Slobodkina began her career in the early 1930s as an abstract artist in New
York’s Greenwich Village, but she worked in her mother’s dress shop to pay her
bills. During that time, she illustrated several picture books for children’s
book author Margaret Wise Brown, including Sleepy ABC and The Little
. Brown encouraged Slobodkina to tell her own stories, and that led
to the publication of Caps for Sale in 1938. After Brown’s death,
Slobodkina continued writing and illustrating her own books. They include
Billy, the Condominium Cat (Addison-Wesley, 1980) and Pezzo the
Peddler and the Thirteen Silly Thieves
(Abelard-Schuman, 1970), as well as a
sequel to Caps for Sale, called Pezzo the Peddler and the Circus
It was originally published in 1967 but re-released in April 2002
by HarperCollins as Circus Caps for Sale.

By far her most popular book, Caps for Sale has sold more than two
million copies. Her autobiography is available on her Web site at www.slobodkina.com