Benjamin and the Silver Goblet

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Judy Silverman
The story of Joseph and his coat is one of the first stories we seem to tell young children. After all, brothers are often mean to each other. Benjamin, as the youngest, cannot do a lot of things that the older boys can do. And because Joseph is missing, their father Jacob cannot bear the thought of losing another child, and keeps Benjamin very close. But now there is a famine—no one has enough to eat—and rumor has it that there is plenty in Egypt. Jacob will send the boys there to ask for help. But not all the boys—Benjamin will stay at home. Benjamin does not like this idea, of course, and this time the older boys agree with him. They will take care of him and they will certainly bring him back; father is not to worry about a thing. They do warn Benjamin that travel is rarely comfortable and never easy. Benjamin does not care about that, he just wants to see new things—anything he has never seen before. He finds that his brothers were right. He is not always comfortable. It is a long, difficult journey, but it is worth it. At the end of the trip they see the Pharaoh's aide, who seems to be very interested in them. He will give them all the food that they have asked for. But when they leave, suddenly he accuses one of them of stealing a silver goblet. None of the brothers would ever think of stealing anything! But when their belongings are searched, a silver goblet is found in Benjamin's pack. All will end well, of course, and we can ignore the inconsistencies of everyone's ages—Joseph and the older brothers all seem to have aged, but Benjamin is still a young teenager—because the story is told so charmingly. Recommended. Reviewer: Judy Silverman
School Library Journal

K-Gr 3

The biblical story of Joseph and his coat of many colors is widely known, but less so is the tale of how Joseph's family was finally reunited through Benjamin, his youngest brother. It's a story of intrigue, as the older brothers hid their past crime of selling Joseph into Egyptian slavery, and Joseph (now a powerful Egyptian governor) framed Benjamin as a thief to see how his brothers reacted (would they protect or forsake him?). Benjamin's point of view is the focus here, and his youthful, open-hearted responses to his adventures help to clarify the story's murky motivations for young readers. In the denouement, Benjamin realized that "he would always be safe" with his reunited brothers, making for an emotionally satisfying conclusion. The writing is elegantly simple. Full-color spreads give a sense of the Middle Eastern landscape, and the artist makes each of the 12 brothers a distinct individual. The faces are expressive, and Benjamin, in particular, appears lovably innocent. A fine introduction to the biblical tale for young readers, with a strong message about the importance of forgiveness and family.-Heidi Estrin, Feldman Children's Library at Congregation B'nai Israel, Boca Raton, FL

Kirkus Reviews
When Jacob's sons arrive home from their travels in Egypt, they tell their father that one brother is being held as a hostage by the governor, who demands that they return with the youngest brother, Benjamin. The child, aching to see the world, is only too happy to oblige, though Jacob fears that he will lose this son the way he lost his eldest, Joseph, years before. In Egypt, the governor treats them lavishly, but as they depart, his silver goblet is found among Benjamin's possessions. Unbeknownst to them, the governor is actually Joseph, sold into slavery years before by these elder brothers. He is testing his siblings to see if they will seek to sell this child, too, to atone for the cup. Instead they beg for mercy, proving remorse for their former actions and prompting a happy reunion. Well paced and well told, this familiar story makes itself fresh with a folkloric feel and a satisfying ending. Ugliano's heavily textured, colorful pastel illustrations ably support and extend the text. This is the third in the publisher's Bible series. (author's note) (Picture book/religion. 6-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780822587583
  • Publisher: Kar-Ben Publishing
  • Publication date: 3/1/2009
  • Series: Bible Series
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 724,630
  • Age range: 5 - 9 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.30 (w) x 9.50 (h) x 0.10 (d)

Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing all of 2 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 11, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    genuinely good retelling of Bible story

    Benjamin and the Silver Goblet is a genuinely enjoyable retelling of a familiar story from the Scriptures. Benjamin is Jacob's youngest son who resents that he is being treated as a baby and left behind as his older brothers leave for Egypt to buy grain. However, his father has already lost one son, Joseph, and will not risk losing another one. Yet, when the brothers return from Egypt, Simeon is not with them. Reuben explains that the governor of Egypt had accused them of being spies and kept Simeon, demanding that they bring Benjamin when they come back to prove that they were telling the truth. When the time comes, they have no choice but to take Benjamin, and Judah promises their father to see that nothing happens to him.
    On the way, Benjamin accidentally overhears the brothers conversation about what they had done to Joseph. He had always been told that Joseph was killed by a wild animal. Benjamin is shocked and wonders if he can ever trust his brothers again. Then, when they arrive in Egypt, the governor does some strange things that puzzle Benjamin and his brothers, but they are finally able to leave with their grain and with Simeon. However, after they have departed, a messenger comes from the governor and demands that they be searched to see if anyone has a silver goblet that has been stolen from the governor. Benjamin gasps as the goblet is found in his sack. They are taken back to Egypt where the governor demands that Benjamin remain as a slave while the others go home. What will happen to Benjamin? Will his brothers help him or just leave him there?
    Anyone who has read the Scriptures knows the end of the story. Author Jacqueline Jules says that she has always been fascinated by Joseph's test of the silver goblet to see if his brothers would abandon Benjamin in the same callous way that they had sold him years before or if they had changed. She tried to stay as faithful as she could to the original plot, but referred to traditional sources for some details and flavor. A book like this is an excellent choice to help youngsters understand the great stories of the Scriptures. Picturing the situation from Benjamin's point of view and imagining the feelings of this boy in the center of a drama that he did not quite understand help to make things real for children, and Natascia Ugliano's full-color illustrations help them visualize the action. This tale is a wonderful example of remorse for past mistakes and the love of a reunited family. I highly recommend the book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 25, 2010

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