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!”
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?