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Something From Nothing by Phoebe Gilman

Something From Nothing

by Phoebe Gilman

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1,055307,963 (4.44)4

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Yet another retelling of the Yiddish song, "Joseph Had an Overcoat." Lots of repetition make it a good story-time story. The illustrations show what shtetl life was like for a Jewish family. At the bottom of each page there is an additional illustration showing a family of mice using the scraps made as the grandfather modifies the material used to make Joseph's blanket, coat, vest, tie, handkerchief and button.

The book can be used to teach and introduce many lessons and topics, such as music, art, clothing, economics, history, family relationships,mathematics, memory, loss, ecology, conservation. I think it would be a great Book of the Year for a synagogue or other organization. ( )
  raizel | May 29, 2016 |
I enjoyed reading this book for three reasons. First, the illustrations really added to the story. The mice pictures at the bottom of the page were not explicitly written into the plot, but were a large part of the overall story. The realistic style of the illustrations gave historical details (such as the dress, food and house styles) of the time.

Second, the plot of the story was very intriguing. I loved seeing the evolution of the little boys blanket. Every page contained a new version of the blanket, which moved the plot along at a nice pace.

Finally, the language of this story was wonderful. Each time the blanket changed shape, the author repeated, "grandfather's scissors moved in and out, in and out. There's just enough material here to make...." The repetition of this statement allows students to join in with the reading! This technique is called shared reading.

Overall, the big picture of Something From Nothing was that the best experiences can be turned into a story to share with others. ( )
  ElanaRubinstein | Mar 7, 2016 |
I liked the book "Something from Nothing" by Phoebe Gilman. I believe that the illustrations and the plot contribute to this book. Th illustrations in this book are very unique. At the bottom of almost every page is an illustration of a mice family. Their actions reflect what is going on in the main plot. However, this is an additional layer that adds so much to the book without words. The plot also contributes to the success of the book. The story shows the boys development and his relationship with his blanket. This book has themes of Jewish life and of having a beloved keepsake.
  may_tay_kay | Mar 7, 2016 |
The title of this folklore says it all, you can always make "something from nothing." It is true when people say it is the small things in life that matter the most and this story is proof to that. When Joseph was born his grandfather made him a blanket that he grew to cherish, but when Joseph grew older so did his blanket. He knew his grandfather could fix and he did. As Joseph was growing his grandfather made him a jacket, a vest, a tie, a handkerchief, and lastly a button all from the same blanket. When Joseph lost the button, his grandfather assured him there was just nothing he could do fix it again. But they sure did make "something out of nothing." A story. At the end of this blanket's journey a beautiful story will be passed on for generations and generations. I absolutely loved this book! It's simplistic style went perfectly with the setting and theme. The Jewish culture shined through out the entire setting. You can tell this was a lower class people, maybe even people in poverty, but they all looked so happy and content with their lives. It is true, you can always make something out of nothing. Joseph never wished for more than he had, he was more than happy with his worn down blanket. Don't wish for things that you do not have, cherish the things that you do have. ( )
  Jmreed1 | Feb 13, 2016 |
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For Irving Hirschhorn / Our Uncle ☼ / We remember you with love.
Brodell Family
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When Joseph was a baby, his grandfather made him a wonderful blanket…to keep him warm and cozy and to chase away bad dreams.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0590472801, Hardcover)

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.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:09:51 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In this retelling of a traditional Jewish folktale, Joseph's baby blanket is transformed into ever smaller items as he grows until there is nothing left--but then Joseph has an idea.

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