Book Review: Nosh, Schlep, Schluff

Nosh, Schlep, Schluff: BabyYiddish by Laurel Snyder,

illustrated by Tiphanie Beeke

Random House, 2010

Recommended for ages zero to 3

When Beautiful Yetta arrived on my desk last year, I found myself quite faklempt.  Chickens! Parrots! Awesomely fun-to-say Yiddishisms!  Could another book possibly steal my heart the way Daniel and Jill Pinkwater’s did?

No.  Don’t be silly.

But the new board book Nosh, Schlep, Schluff: Baby Yiddish comes darn close.

Snyder works classic and delightfully cacophonous Yiddish words such as kibitz, klutz, and schlep into a rhyming, day-in-the-life book for the under-three set.  Does the rhyme scheme hold up effortlessly through a read aloud?  Do the words roll off one’s tongue with ease?  Meh, not exactly, but that is part of the fun.

Snyder places the Yiddish vocabulary in sentences that provide help provide context and clue in children and adults unfamiliar with the language.  Beeke’s naive-style illustrations and use of bright primary colors are perfect for the intended audience.

My favorite line: “If you want to start a ruckus, wave your arms and shake your TUCHES!”

True that.

Edit: I just realized that schmutz is not one of the Yiddish words included in Nosh, Schlep, Schluff.  I definitely think it deserved a place, no?  What better word to describe that, you know, ….schmutz… all over a little one’s face right after snack time?  It could be that schmutz is associated with a four-letter word meaning poop that also starts with the letter “s.”  But, as far as I know, the actual derivation is from the word for “dirt” or “dirty” in German.  Any real Yiddish speakers out there care to comment?

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5 thoughts on “Book Review: Nosh, Schlep, Schluff

  1. Thanks so much for the happy-making review! I’m a massive Yetta fan myself, so of course this makes me glow.

    Just fyi– several words got lost in editing, in cluding schmutz, kvell, etc. Was mostly an issue of length, and so we kept the ones that held together best…

    Best, laurel!

    • Hi Laurel! Thanks for visiting and commenting. It’s always a huge thrill to hear from authors (and a fellow Yetta fan) :–)

      Perhaps all those great Yiddish words lost in editing can be used in a sequel?? (fingers crossed!)

  2. Pingback: Nosh, Schlep, Schluff « Waking Brain Cells

  3. As a guy or should that be goy with some great Jewish friends and married to a Schicksas I adored the book continue to reuse these wonderful yiddish phrases. Like the Cockney slang that I was brought up to speak, it is slowly being lost to all but a few and without fun books like this both dialects will be lost forever. This book takes me back to my childhood walking the streets of a chilli Stamford Hill in London on Sunday afternoons eating Salt Beef Sandwiches and Cheesecake from the only shops that could open and then home for a short schloff. Heaven on earth.

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