The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story
Lemony Snicket (Juvenile Fiction)
“This story ends in someone’s mouth, but it begins in a tiny village more or less covered in snow.”
This is no ordinary Christmas story. This is a story of a latke—that delicious, traditional part of the Hanukah celebration. This particular latke talks—food and animals often talk in stories such as this—and this talking latke is trying very hard to explain exactly what it is and what it represents. It’s not having much luck. Well, YOU try explaining Hanukah to a string of lights, a candy cane, and a pine tree…ALL of which keep comparing your traditions to Christmas. Hanukah is NOT Christmas. It’s a totally different thing. Will they EVER get it right?
In true Lemony Snicket spirit, this story is a wickedly funny and dastardly delightful tale about likenesses, differences, traditions, and the need to find a common thread that connects us all. This book is a wonderful way to introduce young readers to the history of Hanukah and the symbolism behind the eight-day celebration. Pre-readers can become a fun and interactive part of the story by providing the AAAHHHHHHHH!!! parts that the latke screams out of frustration. Snicket describes this as “A Christmas Story”, but Hanukah is a totally different thing. Just ask the latke.
Lemony Snicket has entertained readers with a number of unpleasant books, but this one offers a sweet and valuable lesson. When the latke explains how Christmas and Hanukah are completely different things, this time to a pine tree, the tree replies, “But different things can often blend together.” It would serve us all well to carry this message with us, not just at Christmas or Hanukah, but during all the days of the year. Different things can indeed blend together—like applesauce or sour cream blends with, for instance, latkes! AAAHHHHHHHH!!!
* Book cover image attributed to www.amazon.com