The Cat in the Hat &mdash in Yiddish: a book review

Every kid down in preschool
‘Tween naptime and juice
Reads “The Cat in the Hat”
By that old Dr. Seuss.

And not just Americans,
Spaniards and Swedes
Have read of the
Top-hatted cat’s messy deeds.

You can read it in French.
You can read it in Persian,
In Russian and Prussian
Or some other version.

Now one Yiddish scholar
With wit and with smarts
Has translated “Cat”
With his linguistic arts.

True — our own grasp of Yiddish
Is certainly poor.
We know words like “meshuga,”
And not many more.

So we can’t really judge
This translation at all.
Who knows if it’s good?
It’s not really our call.

Still, the book is a treasure.
It’s skillful and deft,
All the art is the same,
But you read right to left.

And the words are like music.
Here’s a sample for you:
“S’iz mir gor nisht nisht lib
Tfu dray mol! Un tfu!”

So if you speak Yiddish,
Or even if not
Get “Di Kats der Payats.”
You will love it a lot.