Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Beautiful Yetta the Yiddish Chicken by Daniel Pinkwater, illustrated by Jill Pinkwater

Yetta escapes from her crate, en route from the organic chicken farmer to Phil's Poultry World. She is free in Brooklyn. She is also alone, scared, and homesick. The city animals are unfriendly and frightening...until she meets some friendly parakeets. Yetta displays a surprising talent for frightening cats, and she and the parakeets become a family.

Yetta's dialogue is written in English, Hebrew script, and transliterated Yiddish. The parakeets' dialogue is in English, Spanish, and transliterated Spanish. There's a brief explanation of Yiddish and an alphabet and pronunciation guide at the back of the book.

I admit I'm not a big fan of Pinkwater's oeuvre. I've tried various titles and they just have too much quirk for me. This story really didn't grab me either. The parakeets unexpected love for Yetta because of her suddenly discovered cat-chasing abilities and her great beauty didn't make sense to me. I felt the story was rather disjointed and the translated dialogue was jerky. I thought the illustrations were amateurish and not particularly attractive. Of course, as I said earlier I'm not a Pinkwater fan - a quick google search will give you a long list of people who liked, loved, adored, and enjoyed this book.

Verdict: If, like me, you work in a library with a miniscule to nonexistant Jewish population, this isn't a title you need. I'd recommend Laurel Snyder's Baxter the Pig Who Wanted to Be Kosher for an introduction to an aspect of Jewish culture and the Big Chickens books by Leslie Helakoski for stories of some gutsy chickens.

ISBN: 9780312558246; Published May 2010 by Feiwel and Friends; Borrowed from the library

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