November 2010

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Czech & Slovak Wit & Wisdom $12.95
Compiled by Pat Martin
Illustrations by Marj Nejdl
ISBN: 978-1932043-54-9
Paperback, 5 ½” x 8 ½”  40 pages
Third Edition
Penfield Books
215 Brown Street
Iowa City, IA 52242

Reviewed by Whitney Pope

Czech & Slovak Wit & Wisdom is a charming collection of cherished sayings, traditional songs, folk wisdom, and Czech and Slovak customs. 

   The book contains wisdom in a variety of areas, including love and friendship, prudence and honesty, health, colorful expressions, and more. Each maxim is provided in both English and Czech. These rich sayings capture the heart and philosophies of the Czech and Slovak people. Compiler Pat Martin offers them as “the whimsical phrases and harshly practiced maxims, the precious, potent words of these people.”

   The book also contains both the Czech and Slovak National Anthems and “The Prune Song,” a traditional and romantic song that often raises nostalgia in those who hear it. Lyrics (in both English and the traditional Czech/Slovak) are provided with the accompanying scores. Additionally, the book offers many other bits of Czech and Slovak folklore such as poems, riddles, folk tales, nursery rhymes, Christmas traditions, and more. 

   St. Ludmila Parish in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, contributed delicious recipes for kolaches.

   Illustrator Marj Nejdl is a distinguished Czech folk artist noted for her peasant paintings and egg designs. Her classic illustrations enhance the charm of the wit and wisdom offered in this book. The cover displays her colorful border of traditionally painted flowers and birds, each intricately detailed and delightfully colored. A similar vibrant border surrounding a proverb decorates the back cover. 

   Czech & Slovak Wit & Wisdom is a meaningful and valuable book for Czech and Slovak Americans. The book cherishes and appreciates Czech and Slovak culture and tradition, and offers insight into the philosophies and folklore that influence the culture. It is a treasure and a true must-have. 

May, wanting to join the Red Hat Society©.


May’s autobiographical book is, “Finding My Way.”