Illustrated by Lisa Brown
Hardcover, 48 pages
ages 2 and up
Latkes are potato pancakes served at Hanukkah, and Lemony Snicket is an alleged children’s author. For the first time in literary history, these two elements are combined in one book. A particularly irate latke is the star of The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming, but many other holiday icons appear and even speak: flashing colored lights, cane-shaped candy, a pine tree. Santa Claus is briefly discussed as well. The ending is happy, at least for some. People who are interested in any or all of these things will find this book so enjoyable it will feel as though Hanukkah were being celebrated for several years, rather than eight nights.
Go ahead and cover this book in red, stamp it with gold foil and label it a Christmas story—Lemony Snicket fans won't be fooled. The miraculous birth here is of a potato pancake, which, unlike its less loquacious literary cousin the Gingerbread Man, begins screaming the moment it gets cooked. Leaping out of the frying pan and into the great white spaces of Brown's retro-cool graphics, the latke screams even louder as it tries in vain to explain itself and its role at Hanukkah to flashing colored lights (So you're basically hash browns, they reply. Maybe you can be served alongside a Christmas ham) and an equally Christmas-centric candy cane and tree. Embedding a satirical sting in his elegantly cadenced prose, the author (Daniel Handler) up-ends any number of conventions in what may be his funniest book yet. The gift-edition trim size makes this as easy a choice for adults as for the Unfortunate Events crowd. All ages.
Lemony Snicket is the author of Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography and A Series Of Unfortunate Events. His whereabouts are unknown. Lisa Brown is the author and illustrator of Baby Make Me Breakfast, Baby Mix Me a Drink, Baby Fix My Car, and Baby Do My Banking. She lives in San Francisco with her family.