Friday, December 3, 2010

Beautiful Yetta: the Yiddish Chicken

by Daniel and Jill Pinkwater
Feiwel and Friends, 2010. Unpaged. Picture Book.

Probably not many free-range chickens live in Brooklyn. Yetta is a happy exception. An escapee from a crate headed for the (kosher, no doubt) meat-packing plant, Yetta at first can't get her bearings in Brooklyn. Where is the grass? where are the trees? Rats tell her to get lost, pigeons tell her to beat it, and she is almost run over by a city bus. But by and by she comes to the aid of a parrot threatened by a cat. "Go away, you stinky cat!" she cries in Yiddish: gay avVEK, du fahrSHTUNkehneh kahtz! The cat does and lonely Yetta is taken in by a flock of wild parrots who do truly live in Brooklyn and who speak Spanish. Beautiful Yetta is nothing if not a multilingual book with dialogue balloons filled with English, Hebrew script, Yiddish phonetic transliterations, as well as Spanish and Spanish phonetic transliterations. Reading this book takes a bit of linguistic work, but it is well worth it for the chance to see Yetta happily adopted as the parrots' new mother, and for the chance to see fahrSHTUNkehneh really loudly and with regard to other things besides cats.

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