November 25, 2009

YOU CAN ALWAYS MAKE SOMETHING OUT OF NOTHING


"When Joseph's favorite overcoat gets old and worn, he makes a jacket out of it. When the jacket is more patches than jacket, Joseph turns it into a vest. When the vest's number is up, Joseph makes a scarf. This thrifty industry continues until there's nothing left of the original garment. But clever Joseph manages to make something out of nothing! (And that's the foreshadowed moral of the story.)" ~ Amazon Book Review

JOSEPH HAD A LITTLE OVERCOAT is at once fanciful and wise, thought-provoking and engaging, and a most wonderful book to give a young person this holiday season.   It's at the top of my list of books that every child should have in their home library. 

Here's the background on what inspired this post and the recommendation:


I've been struck several times this week by an almost overwhelming THANKFULNESS, brought on by some simple acts that so many of us take for granted: shopping for groceries for the holiday, purchasing a few Christmas presents for the girls, ordering a pie from my girlfriend who makes the best darn sweet potato pie on the planet, dropping my spare change in a collection bucket...

A few years ago, my family went through an incredibly difficult period, where any of those things would have seemed like tremendous luxuries. During the holidays, I remember feeling like the girl in Rumplestiltskin sitting in the room full of straw, feeling the pressure to turn it in to gold. My creativity was indeed pushed to the limit, and as a result of having to make meaningful, quality gifts with only what I had on hand, and special and delicious meals with what was left in the pantry, I found that indeed I could spin straw in to gold ~ how empowering and life-changing!


(This illustration generously provided by Grandma's Graphics )

So, at thirty-five years of age, I confirmed what I had often suspected: You can always make something out of nothing. It's a motto that serves me well, and I hope to pass on to my children, along with the spirit of giving and sharing, everyday gratitude, and never taking anything for granted.

Also a firm believer in the "everything happens for a reason" theory, I happened to arrive early to pick up my daughter from preschool one day during our troubled times, and caught the end of a most amazing story: Joseph Had a Little Overcoat. I ended up borrowing the book that evening and reading it over and over again. It so perfectly conveyed the spirit and tone I was wanting to set for my daughters.


"In today's throwaway world, Joseph's old-fashioned frugality is a welcome change. Based on a Yiddish song from Simms Taback's youth (lyrics and music reproduced on the last page), the book is filled with rhythms and arresting colors that will delight every reader. As more and more holes appear in Joseph's coat, die-cut holes appear on the pages, hinting at each next manifestation. The illustrations are striking, created with gouache, watercolor, collage, pencil, and ink. Every inch of space is crammed with fanciful, funny details, such as the headline on a discarded newspaper: "Fiddler on Roof Falls off Roof."... (Ages 4 to 8)" Amazon Book Review, Emilie Coulter

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13 comments:

  1. As an avid reader I am always looking for new books to add to my daughter's collection. It excites me to no end that she would much prefer to pick up a book than a toy!

    I'll add this to her Christmas list this year! Thanks for the recommendation.

    Happy Thanksgiving!

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  2. I've read this book before and really enjoyed it! They had it at my library and the ending totally made me laugh.

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  3. I'm working on pretty much next to nothing this year - thanks for reminding me I can do it!

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  4. "The best things in life are free"! Happy Thanksgiving!

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  5. I'm going to find this book too. It reminds me of my grandmother and mother, both who are a lot more patient and crafty than me. My mom made twin bedcovers for me, then made them into a double bed cover, then made a Little Bo Peep costume out it and finally made a quilt for my oldest son. He loves it knowing it was once on my bed when I was younger.

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  6. I love adding new books to my collection -- both novels and picture books alike. I'll have to check this book out at my local Barnes & Noble.

    Hope you had an amazing Thanksgiving -- I definitely did! :)

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  7. I am always looking for new books. I will have to check this one out.Thanks!

    Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

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  8. This reminds me of my dad. He was a master at making something out of nothing, like recycling cat litter boxes, orange juice containers, junk mail, and Whiskas containers to name a few.

    Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest!

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  9. This is one of our family favorites. I'm glad it found you. We are making fabric gift bags this year out of our clothes. We are hoping to have a paper free Christmas.

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  10. I've never heard of this book. It sounds like a keeper.

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  11. This looks like a fantastic book. I might have to pick it up for my daughter!

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  12. Thank you for joining me on A Mother Seeking's Gratitude Link Party. This was one of my favorites and I'll be featuring it on Monday. So, please come on back. :)
    Thanks!
    X M
    Meredith From A Mother Seeking Come find me on my blog, A Mother Seeking...

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  13. You've been featured. Thanks again for Linking up to my Giving Gratitude Link Party. Come back soon!
    Meredith From A Mother Seeking Come find me on my blog, A Mother Seeking...

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