Something from Nothing

$ 15.95

Something from Nothing

$ 15.95

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This tale drawn from Jewish folklore has been told in many variations, but never so richly. It is a story of relationships, trust, transformations, and optimism, as well as being an entree to Jewish history in Eastern Europe of the 19th-20th century. Grandpa trims away the worn parts of Joseph's baby blanket and uses it to make him a jacket in the first of its many transformations into ever smaller items: a vest, a tie, a handkerchief, and a button as each item in turn becomes worn. When the button is lost, Joseph declares: "'There is just enough material here to make...a wonderful story!'" The story is told with repetitive, rhythmic phrases that children will soon anticipate and join in on. Using colored pencils, watercolors, and possibly other media, Gilman has created a shtetl in a book. Each oversized wood-framed page draws readers closely into the town or into Joseph's house and also below its floor where the mice use each discarded scrap to furnish their own snug home. Shades of warm brown, rust, and gold, accented with bright blue, lend a feeling of nostalgia. Gilman's art is subtle with painterly shading, a skillful use of light and dark, and expressive line. Each page is beautifully composed. While some of the folk characters' expressions are exaggerated, this is, after all, supposed to be funny.

Additional information

Weight4.7 oz
Dimensions8.6 × 0.1 × 11.2 in






March 2008




4 - 7 years