Beautiful Yetta's Hanukkah Kitten

Yiddish tr. by Yael Strom. Spanish tr. by Alicia Padrón and Guillermo Casallo. illus. by Jill Pinkwater. 32p. Feiwel & Friends. Oct. 2014. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9780312621346.
K-Gr 2—First introduced in Beautiful Yetta, the Yiddish Chicken (2010), the hen is still living in Brooklyn, the honorary mother to a flock of wild, Spanish-speaking parrots. One winter night, Yetta's maternal instinct kicks in again when she discovers a kitten in a snowdrift. "A ketseleh! A little cat!" says Yetta. "Helf mir mit ir. Help me take care of it," she says to the parrots, but they don't know what cats eat or where to take it. Besides, aren't they dangerous? Then they remember that it's Hanukkah, "cuando los humanos están de buen humor! When the humans are in a good mood!" They take the kitten to an old grandmother who says to Yetta, "Redstu Yidish, hinel?? You speak Yiddish, chicken?" and then feeds them all latkes. Not much more happens, but that's hardly the point. Aside from the obvious nod to a mingling of languages and cultures, this is a book that begs to be read aloud, if for no other reason than the humor that emerges from a recitation of the multilingual transliterations. Large, brightly colored illustrations in marker and ink set against a white background have a comic quality that complements the minimal text. With almost no information about the actual holiday, this is not a book for Hanukkah novices, but for those looking for something fun to read during the festivities (think reader's theater.) It should have everyone saying "A frayleken Chanukah! ¡Un feliz Hanukkah! A Happy Hanukkah!"—Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library
In her second book, the Brooklyn-based Jewish-mama hen and her Spanish-speaking parrot pals find a lost kitten during Hanukkah. Yetta knows what to do: "take her to the old grandmother!" Kitten and Bubbie find companionship--and the birds benefit from homemade latkes. The speech-bubble text is in English and Spanish or Yiddish (phonetic pronunciation included). Energetic limited-palette illustrations fly off the pages.
In this sequel to Beautiful Yetta: The Yiddish Chicken (rev. 7/10), the Brooklyn-based Jewish-mama hen and her Spanish-speaking parrot pals find a cold, lost kitten during Hanukkah. The parrots are trepidatious ("Can it fly up to our nest?"), but Yetta knows just what to do: "We will take her to the old grandmother!" Kitten and Bubbie find companionship -- and the birds all benefit from some homemade potato latkes. The breezy speech-bubble text is in English and, depending on who's talking, Spanish or Yiddish (including, for both foreign languages, phonetic pronunciation). Energetic marker, brush pen, and pen-and-ink illustrations in a limited palette -- parrot green, hen white-and-red, kitten orange, and Hanukkah blue -- fly off the pages. elissa gershowitz

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing