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Yiddish with Dick and Jane Hardcover – September 13, 2004
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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.
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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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Top Customer Reviews
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!
Funny and well done, with story lines for adults.
But for an updating of the very goyish Dick and Jane with a nice Jewish twist, this is fun, fun, fun! Sure to tickle the funny bone of anyone who grew up reading these books and felt a little outside of things. Here is a book for them.
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.