Joyful Jewish

Something from Nothing

Posted on: 16 October, 2010

Something from Nothing by Phoebe Gilman

This is a very sweet folk story with a feel-good ending.  It’s about a boy named Joseph and his grandfather, who is a tailor.  Grandfather makes Joseph a special blanket when he is a baby.  Over time, the blanket becomes worn and Joseph’s mother wants to throw it out.  Joseph rushes to his grandfather, who carefully cuts and sews and recycles the fabric into something new.  The pattern is repeated over the years as Joseph grows, but what happens when he loses the button made with the last shred of fabric?

The illustrations in this book are lovely, depicting Jewish shtetl life in the 1800s (?), and could form the basis of much extra discussion with your child as they grow.  Below the floorboards live a parallel family of mice, who also make use of the wonderful fabric that Joseph loves so much.

I’m not sure how easy it would be to find this book in Australia, but I  bought a second hand copy (in nearly mint condition) from a US bookstore via Abe Books and highly recommend them.

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Fun crafts and activities for Jewish families with young children

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