Something from Nothing Hardcover – Oct 1 1993
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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.
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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!
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.
One day when he was cranky in his car seat on our way home, in order to keep him from crying I repeated over and over a line from the book 'Grandpa turned it round and round, Hmm, he said as his scissors went snip, snip, snip, and his needle few in and out and in and out...'
Most recent customer reviews
A classic! Two stories in one, as you read the main story, as well as the story of the little mice that happens in the borders. Bought if for my kids, and now for my grandkids.Published 23 days ago by Amazon Customer
Definitely a "treasure book" for anyone who loves children's literature. A beautiful book!Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is my sons favorite book. He is 8 and he still has his baby blanket so the book is very meaningful to him.Published 4 months ago by Kelly
Only bought this because I remembered loving the illustrations of mice as a kid. Now that I read it, the mice are still the best part :)Published 5 months ago by Mozen
This is the first book I read to our students every year. Beautifully written and illustrated.Published 6 months ago by Gordon Wray
Adorable story. Recommended by another parent...wonderful tale and great illustrations.Published 7 months ago by CSC