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


  1. A shaynem dank! Reading the stuff you write about the stuff I write almost makes me believe I write good stuff!


  2. Is the Yiddish for “country” really the English derived word “kuhntry”? Or is that a joke?

  3. With this book, Pinkwater surely becomes the only writer in history to create three distinct chicken characters:


    Henrietta, from The Hoboken Chicken Emergency


    Claudia, the Chicken Man’s chicken from Lizard Music.

    (Scholars will have to decide if Dharmawhati, the Chicken Man’s chicken from the Snarkout Boys is the same as Claudia.)

    -Tom Angleberger

  4. I’ve given away several copies of The Big Orange Splot! Well-loved in itself, and a good foot in the door for other Pinkwater subversiveness.

    Captain Pinkwater used to illustrate his own books, especially the picture books. It is neat to see Jill doing the work now.

  5. Added to my personal acquisitions list for the library, even if I can’t convince the main branch to put it on the overall order list.

  6. This looks great. Question though, BB always has great book suggestions and I’ve picked up more than a few (It Was the War of the Trenches is fantastic). But didn’t there used to be a link that would take you to the list of all BB book articles? I can’t find it and a general search is just not cutting it.

  7. Pidgin Pigeon?!? Dammit! There’s always something one didn’t think of! “Bilong go bek long gaden, silly cheekin!” It could have been great.


    1. *snirk* Yeah, that’s pretty funny. Maybe in the second edition, or some of the translations, maybe.

      But really, this “there’s always something” is why people write book 2!

  8. Holy crap, this is a Pinkwater book about our neighborhood!

    (We live within a few blocks of various kosher and, for that matter, halal chicken-butchering establishments. And the feral parrots of Brooklyn have a major colony right on our block.)

  9. The Yiddish for “country” can be the English derived word “kuhntry”. Yiddish is a porous language and will absorb words from the language the speaker uses when they are not speaking Yiddish.

    On the other hand, if you don’t speak English as a second language, you would probably use “dorf” for country.

    zie gezunt,

  10. Well, like ‘most’ English the word Country is actually derived from Latin (probably via French); so before the above explanation I wouldn’t of jumped to the conclusion that it was derived from English.

  11. My copy just arrived today. It’s a great book. Good quality paper and dustjacket, too.
    Not sure the neice will actually get it – might keep it for myself!

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