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Something from Nothing [Hardcover]

Phoebe Gilman
4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
Price: CDN$ 19.51 & FREE Shipping on orders over CDN$ 25. Details
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Book Description

Oct. 1 1993
A modern adaptation of this favorite Jewish folktale describes how the blanket grandfather had made for young Joseph is transformed over the years into a jacket, a button, and, ultimately, a story.

Frequently Bought Together

Something from Nothing + The Balloon Tree + The Wonderful Pigs of Jillian Jiggs
Price For All Three: CDN$ 34.14

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Product Details

Product Description

From Amazon

Winner of the Canada's Ruth Schwartz Children's Book Award and the Sydney Taylor Award, Something from Nothing is one of Phoebe Gilman's finest books for young readers. Based on a classic Yiddish folk tale, it tells the story of Joseph, whose Grandpa, the tailor in a little village, makes him a beautiful blanket to keep him warm and comfy and safe from bad dreams. When the blanket becomes a little tattered and his mother wants to throw it out, Joseph takes it to Grandpa to see if he can rescue it. Grandpa makes him a jacket and, later, a vest, and finally there's nothing left of the original blanket but a fancy button. Gilman's storytelling skills are matched by her noteworthy illustrations--in oil and egg tempera on gessoed satin-finish watercolour paper--of the Polish shtetl where Joseph and his family live. But that's not the end of the fun--Gilman mirrors shtetl life with a little mouse family that lives under the floorboards of Joseph's house. Her truly remarkable book even offers its young readers a wonderful surprise ending. (Ages 4 to 8) --Jeffrey Canton --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

From Publishers Weekly

When Joseph was a baby, his grandfather made him a shimmering blue blanket adorned with the moon and stars. As the boy grows and the blanket wears out, the old tailor recycles it, in succession fashioning a jacket, a vest, a tie and, finally, a cloth-covered button. But when Joseph loses the button, even his grandfather cannot make something from nothing. With its judicious repetition and internal rhymes, this thoughtfully presented Jewish folktale will captivate readers right through the ending, in which the boy discovers one last incarnation for his beloved keepsake. Although her renderings of human faces border on cartoonishness, Gilman's ( The Wonderful Pigs of Jillian Jiggs ) oil-glazed tempera paintings suggest the vivid world of Joseph's shtetl, with full-page cutaway illustrations recording the multileveled activity in Joseph's house. In an imaginative visual stroke, the bottom of each spread features the beneath-the-floorboards doings of a family of mice whose domestic life--from new births to Sabbath dinners to the outfitting of their entire home in discarded swatches of the blue blanket--winsomely mirrors Joseph's own. Ages 5-11.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
When Joseph was a baby, his grandfather made him a wonderful blanket...to keep him warm and cozy and to chase away bad dreams. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

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Most helpful customer reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A book to grow up with! Jan. 2 2002
By Jay3fer
I've seen a few knock-offs of this story, and actually, they're all based on a classic Yiddish folktale, so I guess they have the right. But in my mind -- and my kids'! -- Gilman's sweet take on this tale of old-world frugality and love will always be the "classic."
Gilman's richly colourful paintings are full of action, vivid cross-sections depicting events playing out in all the rooms of Joseph's house, out on the street, and even in the cellar where a growing family of mice plays out a surprising "bonus" story of their own.
The characters here are all believable; Joseph is as mischievous and playful as any modern child. And the time flow in this book is exquisite: as in life, Gilman's transforms Joseph from page in subtle but certain stages, bringing him from early childhood into his cheder years.
This is a story kids will love to listen to over and over, and even adults will enjoy making new discoveries within the familiar illustrations. A superlative gift for any child, one which will grow with them and be cherished for years to come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gives Me the Warm Fuzzies Nov. 15 2002
One of my top 5 favorite children's books! The story line is touching, the illustrations are amazing! I recommend this book to young and old! Besides the beautiful bond between Joseph and his grandfather, I love the incorporated journey of the family of mice that is illustrated at the bottom of the pages - the little girl with the red coat and hankerchief covered head is also brilliant! So many stories happening in one book! A definate 'keeper'
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enchanting! Nov. 14 2002
By A. Lord
There are many versions of this story in print (it is a classic Yiddish story) but Gilman's version is far and away the best.
Joseph, a wonderfully drawn character, receives a beautiful blanket from his grandfather. As he ages, the blanket is transformed into a jacket, a vest, a scarf etc.
The prose is very well-done and very lively with lots of repetition which will please children and their parents. The illustrations, however, really make this book. They are fantastic! The world of the shtetl really comes to life in these detailed drawings (in fact, living in a shtetl actually looks pretty good which is an amazing accomplishment!).
I have given this book to friends and family---both Jewish and non-Jewish and everyone has loved it. Buy it, find a blanket and curl up with a child to read this one!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
By A Customer
And you'll enjoy reading it to them every time! When Joseph's favorite blanket wears out, Grandpa, a tailor, saves the day by fashioning it into a smaller item. Over the years Grandpa makes Joseph's blanket into ever smaller items until finally, well, you can't make something from nothing! Or can you?
Written to be read aloud, Something From Nothing will have your children chiming in as Grandpa's scissors go "snip, snip, snip" and his needle goes "in and out and in and out." A delighful second storyline is carried on in the illustrations, with a mouse family putting the scraps from Joseph's blanket to good use. This richly illustrated book is a treat both you and your children (ages 2 to 9) will enjoy.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars nice March 21 2008
By elfdart TOP 1000 REVIEWER
this is a sweet story about a relationship between a grandfather and his grandson. the grandfather makes his grandson a blanket and as the boy grows and destroys the blanket the grandfather makes something new out of the material. i have a close relationship with my grandparents and they do everything to make their grandchildren happy. this story was kind of a reminder of that for me, how they'll always be there for me, and will help me and teach me with whatever tools they may have, but most of all how they'll always love me. i get almost emotional when i read this book. its a good one. get it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perfect book for children... Jan. 24 1998
Something From Nothing is simply a perfect book for children betwen the ages of three and eight. It has rhythm, repetition, and heartwarming story, as well as a secondary story hidden in the beautiful illustrations, that make it a joy to read over and over. My children and I have enjoyed several of Gilman's clever, beautifully illustrated books, but this is her masterpiece. (Also check out "Jillian Jiggs" and "The Balloon Tree")
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderfully repetetive book Feb. 7 1999
By A Customer
I used this book in a daycare class of two and three year-olds. It's great!! The repetition gets children involved actively with the story and the artistry keeps children busy looking for all sorts of details. Wonderful book for children of all ages.
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