Pinkwater's BEAUTIFUL YETTA: touching picture book about a country chicken and feral Brooklyn parrots


Daniel Pinkwater's latest is a picture book for very young readers called Beautiful Yetta, the Yiddish Chicken. Yetta is raised on an idyllic farm, but eventually her farmer friend has to deliver her to a Brooklyn butcher shop. At the last second, she escapes and makes her way into the streets, where she is terrorized by rats and trucks. But Yetta finds peace and friendship from the tribe of feral parrots that take her in and make her their den mother.

It's classic Pinkwater: funny, weird, touching, and all about the joys of being sideways to reality. Jill Pinkwater, his wife and longtime collaborator, does the illustrations. The lettering is great: the chicken speaks Yiddish (as you'd expect), with English subtitles and phonetic pronunciation guides; the parrots speak Spanish (they've got subtitles and phonetics, too). So it's not just a charming story for little kids: it's a crash-course in conversational chicken-Yiddish and parrot-Spanish.

The Pinkwaters have graced me with an autographed copy inscribed for my daughter Poesy, which makes this one of the best days of my life. Daniel Pinkwater is a genius, and today, he and Jill have made me into a great dad.

Beautiful Yetta, the Yiddish Chicken