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Yiddish with Dick and Jane Hardcover – September 13, 2004


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Product Details

  • Series: Dick and Jane
  • Hardcover: 112 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company; 1St Edition edition (September 13, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316159727
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316159722
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 5.2 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (62 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #371,569 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Dick and Jane are all grown up, and they're living in the real world-and it's full of tsuris (troubles). That's the premise of this hilarious little book, which functions both as a humorous tale and a genuine guide to a language with a sentiment and world view all its own. Jane is married to Bob and has two perfect children. Dick schmoozes with business people over golf: "Schmooze, Dick. Schmooze...." Their sister, Sally, who teaches a course in "Transgressive Feminist Ceramics," can see that life is not perfect, even though dear Dick and Jane cannot. Their mother has a stroke ("Oy vey, Jane," says Dick when he learns the news). Bob's best friend's wife is having an affair because the best friend himself is gay ("'Tom is more than gay, Sally,' says Dick. 'He is overjoyed.'... 'Oy Gotenyu oh, God help us,' sighs Sally.") And purse dealers take advantage of the gullible. The brief story is priceless, but the equally funny glossary is a great reference to which readers can return any time they need the right Yiddish word-or whenever they need to determine whether the jerk they just saw is a putz, a schmo or a schmuck.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Ellis Weiner has been an editor of National Lampoon, a columnist for Spy, and a contributor to many magazines, including The New Yorker and the New York Times Magazine. He lives in Pennsylvania.


Barbara Davilman lives in Los Angeles, where she writes for television.

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Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
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4 star
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This is a cute book - very funny and creative.
Miss Lo
This is one of the funniest laugh out loud books you will ever read - a perfect tutor for yiddish!
Judith
Jane is married to a mensch, Bob, and they have two lovely kids, as well as a dog and cat.
Larry Mark MyJewishBooksDotCom

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

44 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Larry Mark MyJewishBooksDotCom on September 21, 2004
Format: Hardcover
In 1927, Dick and Jane began to teach American kids to read through repetition. So, nu? Vo den? Who knew they knew Yiddish, too? I am sure their parents could schep nachas had they known. I know what you're thinking. Oh, some fancy schmancy authors sprinkled Dick and Jane with a smattering of Yiddish. Schtuss. You'd be tsedreyt in kop if you think that way. This "primer" has a very interesting and surprising plot. In this retelling of a tale, Jane shines and doesn't play second fiddle to Dick. Jane is married to a mensch, Bob, and they have two lovely kids, as well as a dog and cat. Bob is a tad naïve. Jane works in real estate with her boss Stanley, and Stanley is very good at staging homes for sale. Dick is also married with kids, and loves to golf with Tom. Tom has a penchant golf clubs. Now an adult, Sally has moved out to Berkeley, where she is a confident feminist, but she has tsurris. But who doesn't? Even the Jamaican nursemaid the family hires for mom has tsurris (and some good herbs). So do yourself a favor. Order in some Chinese, and read this primer with the whole mishpacha. The authors, one of whom worked for National Lampoon, include a 20 page glossary of terms which is as good as the story text.
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37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Eileen Rieback on October 9, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Who would have thought that the non-Jewish stars of the old-time elementary school reading primers would now be speaking Yiddish? In this parody, Dick and Jane have grown up and they now face a raft of real-world problems. Jane is a real estate agent with a mensch of a husband and Dick is a businessman who golfs and schmoozes with his business associates. Their sister Sally is a zaftig ceramics instructor living in Berkeley. Their mother has a stroke and becomes a bit farblondget. Then throw in the cheating wife of Dick's switch-hitting golfing buddy and a goniff of a handbag salesman, and... feh! Sally kvetches that this is no longer the idealized and innocent world that she grew up in, where women were dress-wearing housewives, men always wore suits, and everything was politically correct.

The story has 40 old-fashioned watercolor illustrations that recall the style of the original readers but with content that reflects the realities of 21st century life. The text includes such dialog as "See Jane schlep. Schlep Jane schlep." There is a glossary containing over eighty Yiddish words and phrases and one in Chinese (yes, Chinese!) that can be found in the story. Some of the funniest things in the book can be found in this glossary, where the authors explain the origins and usage of the words. An example definition is "Mechuleh - bankrupt, kaput... See how the letters for 'kaput' are in the word 'bankrupt'? Isn't language great?" You might not learn more than a smattering of Yiddish phrases from this book, but you will have some laughs over the parody and take a nostalgic trip back to the primers that taught you to read. So nu? Why not share this book with the whole mishpocha!

Eileen Rieback
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By jebaer on October 16, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Who knew Dick and Jane were Jewish? This little book is a good introduction to all those words we've heard on TV or in movies and wondered what they meant. Easy to read format helps too--"Schmooze, Dick, schmooze. Schmooze, schmooze, schmooze." I liked it, the illustrations look like they came from an old Dick and Jane reader, with a few variations. Recommended for gentiles everywhere.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Ypsi on March 8, 2005
Format: Hardcover
...I pished, I plotzed!

One of THE funniest things I've read in ages. I made a schmuck out of myself in the Barnes & Noble cafe, guffawing out loud and snorting a couple of times. People laughed and pointed at me, thinking I was meshuggah. Highly recommend this one.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful By David E. Levine on March 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I grew up on Dick and Jane. I can still remember the first word I learned to read, "look." Dick and Jane, and their sister Baby Sally, lived in an idealized world, perfect for innocent first graders. In this amusing little book, the Yiddishisms are funny but the true parody is that of an adult Dick and Jane living in the real world of suburban assimilated Jews (replete with the requisite meal from a Chinese Restaurant). Typically, there is the free spirit of the family represented by Sally (remember Baby Sally?) who moved to Berkeley and is a feminist ceramics teacher. Sally has moved into the real world but Dick and Jane, and their equally innocent spouses, remamin clueless, not recognizing things going on around them such as extramarital affairs.

The single funniest part of the book is where a disturbing discovery is accompanied by the caption "Oy gevalt." I will say no more about it so as not to spoil the effect.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Nancy Machlis Rechtman on September 22, 2004
Format: Hardcover
See Dick. See Jane. See Sally. See Dick , Jane and Sally in an off-the-wall primer where they speak phrases such as, "He is a goniff! Someone ought to give him a zetz in the schnoz."

Oy vey! What has happened to Dick, Jane and Sally since we last saw them? They now speak Yiddish?! Jane is married to Bob and they have two children who are very well-behaved: "Kina-hora." Jane works in real estate. Dick is a businessman who likes to "schmooze" on the golf course to drum up business. He is married to Mary and they also have two children. Sally now lives in Berkeley where she teaches "Transgressive Feminist Ceramics."

In this alternate universe to the Dick and Jane primers of our childhood, we see a married woman having an affair with her husband's friend. We see her husband in a lip lock with Jane's male boss. When Dick, Jane and Sally's mother is recovering from a small stroke which has left her slightly "farblondget," Sally comes to visit. When her mother compliments her on her looks, a "zaftig" Sally protests and rails at her mother about the fact that her mother did nothing to help her get ready for the real world. Her mother tells her that she prepared her to live in the world that she lived in. And that is the heart and soul of this book - the Dick, Jane and Sally who we grew up with were part of the perfect world that was portrayed in both print and on television where everyone was happy, there were simple solutions to all problems, and no dangers lurked outside anyone's door. There was a very strong disconnect with reality, but in the 50's and early 60's, not many people seemed to mind.
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