The Hatseller and the Monkeys


Fans of Slobodkina's Caps for Sale will relish this fresh twist on a hat vendor's comical skirmish with some clever primates, set in Diakite's native Mali. BaMusa is not only a hatseller, but descends from a long line of hatmakers. After a brief explanation of how he learned to make wide-brimmed dibiri hats and close-fitting fugulan caps, he heads to town to sell them. He stops to nap under a mango tree, where some monkeys relieve him of his hats. The author makes the most of the interplay between the mischievous culprits and BaMusa with phrases children will want to imitate right along with the characters ("Tchat, tchat, tchat!" yells BaMusa; "Hoop, hoop, hoop!" the monkeys reply). Diakite's version imparts a new moral: Only after the man eats some of the monkey's mangoes can he think with a clear head and reclaim his hats.