Swinging Chickens


Yetta is a snow-white chicken who has fallen off a farm truck in the picture book Beautiful Yetta, the Yiddish Chicken. Using funny and teasing prose–“Yetta, beautiful Yetta, will not be sold. She will not be soup!”–Daniel Pinkwater, author of the classic Fat Men from Space, tells a surprisingly moving story. Yetta, a Yiddish-speaking chicken, escapes from the butchery bus onto the streets of Brooklyn. There, she meets and adopts a family of Spanish-speaking parakeets.

Beautiful Yetta 
is a great story for the High Holidays–its themes of freedom and responsibility are especially ripe at this time of year. Also consider that in the days preceding Yom Kippur, there’s a ritual called kaparot in which a person swings a chicken over his or her head, transferring sins to the fowl. (Afterward, the bird is traditionally killed and donated to poor families; not to worry Yetta, today many people perform kapparot with money instead of fowl.)

And, really, any time is a good time to read a story about a Yiddish-speaking chicken.

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