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Friday, February 18, 2011

Multi-lingual Livestock

Beautiful Yetta: The Yiddish Chicken
by Daniel Pinkwater; illustrated by Jill Pinkwater

Maybe I liked this book because it reminded me of my grandparents, but I'm pretty sure I also just really, really enjoyed it.

Beautiful Yetta is the multi-lingual story of a chicken who has escaped a fate at the butchers only to end up lost on the streets of Brooklyn, much different from her normal farm life. Initially ostracized by rats and pigeons, Yetta saves a wild parrot from a cat and becomes a welcome member of the parrot colony.

The story is unique as each character speaks their own language (Yiddish, Spanish, and English) with accompanying phonetic spellings for Hebrew and Spanish characters as well as English translations. (A phonetic Hebrew and Yiddish alphabet chart is included, presumably for adults, on the last page.) It's a great way to introduce young children to other cultures and languages, though as Daniel Pinkwater says, "it doesn't mean to be a Rosetta Stone," Colorful and geometric illustrations, which often take the place of narration, are important to the progression of the plot, and the bright images fit well with the lively narrative as it flits back and forth from one language to another.

If this book is up your alley, be sure to check out a recording of Pinkwater reading Beautiful Yetta aloud, complete with accents and laughter, on NPR's Weekend Edition (August 14, 2010).


Age 4-8
Copyright 2010
ISBN: 9780312558246
Image from www.kveller.com

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