PreS-Gr 3-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 entre 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.- Marcia Posner, Federation of New York and the Jewish Book Council, New York City
In this lively adaptation of a folk tale, Gilman creates a close-knit Jewish community in which nothing goes to waste. The wonderful baby blanket Grandpa made for Joseph has begun to wear out. When Grandpa takes a look at it, he finds "just enough material here to make . . ." something smaller. First, he makes a jacket. When that wears out, he makes a vest, then a tie, and so on. Finally, there is only enough fabric remaining to cover a button. When Joseph loses his button, he is heartbroken until he realizes that there is "just enough material here to make . . ." one more thing--a good story. Framed by borders that look like wooden beams, busy street scenes and cutaway interiors offer lots of old-world atmosphere. The borders also set off a complementary picture story about a mouse family living beneath the floor of Grandpa's home. Children will readily follow the tiny creatures' escapades and appreciate their ingenuity in turning scraps from Joseph's blanket to their own advantage. The red-gold tones of the background and the rich browns in the artwork lend a feeling of warmth that perfectly replicates the flavor of the sweet, funny tale.