The Yid­dish Fish

San­ti­a­go Cohen
  • Review
January 20, 2016

Rob Costel­lo works at the Brook­lyn Fish Mar­ket. One day as he goes about his work, one of the fish starts talk­ing to him. In Yid­dish! Rob doesn’t under­stand Yid­dish but his boss, Mr. Lip­shitz, does. It sounds like my Aunt Louise!” he exclaims. The two men decide that there’s only one thing to do with a talk­ing fish: give it its free­dom. As they do so, they think they may hear some klezmer music aris­ing from the lake. That’s all there is to this unusu­al and quirky sto­ry, with equal­ly beguil­ing il­lustrations, but it makes for a fun read-aloud. There is an author’s note, and even some sug­gest­ed relat­ed activ­i­ties at the back of the book. One com­plaint: the fish’s com­ments, set into speech bal­loons, are writ­ten in Eng­lish and in Hebrew/​Yiddish let­ters. It would have been help­ful to have a translit­er­a­tion of the Yid­dish, or a note at the back to guide read­ers not flu­ent with the Hebrew alpha­bet. Every­one should be able to savor the Yid­dish fla­vor. Rec­om­mend­ed for ages 3 – 6.

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