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Yiddish for Dogs    by Janet Perr order for
Yiddish for Dogs
by Janet Perr
Order:  USA  Can
Hyperion, 2007 (2007)

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* * *   Reviewed by Lori Waddington

In her delightful book Yiddish For Dogs, Janet Perr informs us that 'many Yiddish words have become part of our common language.' How true that is. If you have ever called someone a mensch, or told someone they were mishuggeh, you have spoken Yiddish. (A mensch means 'a person with dignity', and mishuggeh basically means you are crazy.) Janet Perr has put together a hilarious collection of Yiddish words and their definitions, accompanied by pictures of dogs using these words.

A common Yiddish word is klutz, which means 'a clumsy, graceless, inept, bungling, fumbling person.' Next to this is a picture of a dog falling down the stairs, stating 'I followed the ball as it bounced down the stairs, losing my footing in the process ... I'm such a Klutz.' Another Yiddish word that is often used is Mazel Tov, meaning 'congratulations, kudos, praise'. Next to this is a picture of a dog wearing a graduation cap, as he tells us that 'After 3 weeks of obedience school, I finally learned to sit and stay ... "Mazel Tov," said the trainer, "you're so smart."'

Perr also includes Yiddish words that are not used quite so often, such as Megillah, which is 'a long drawn-out story, tediously slow, actually boring, full of tireless details.' The dog in this picture is struggling to keep his eyes open, as he says 'The other night when your niece came over to stay? You were reading to her forever ... and I'm listening to you drone on and on. blah, blah, blah, reading the whole Megillah.'

I must say I thoroughly enjoyed Yiddish For Dogs. I cannot remember the last time a book made me laugh out loud as much as this one did. Janet Perr is to be congratulated; she is truly a mensch.

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