Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Latkes and Applesauce: A Hanukkah Story

Latkes and Applesauce: A Hanukkah Story

Fran Manushkin
Illustrator:  Robin Spowart 
Picture Book
For ages 5 to 7
Scholastic, 2007   ISBN: 978-0439930482

There was once a mother, a father and two children who lived in a village far away. Every Hanukkah this family, the Menashes, would dig up potatoes to make latkes and pick apples to make applesauce. One year a fierce blizzard blew in on the first night of Hanukkah. The family lit their first candle of Hanukkah placing it in its menorah but they could not eat latkes and applesauce because their potatoes where buried under snow and there were not apples. So they sipped their soup and sang a Hanukkah song instead.

Then Rebecca heard a noise and when she looked outside she saw a tiny wet kitten sitting on the doorstep. Quickly the family took the kitten in. Mama said that since the animal is “one of God’s creatures” the kitten must stay with them and be cared for.

On the second night of Hanukkah, after they ate their dinner of soup and after they lit the second candle in the menorah, the family heard a sound outside the door again. This time they found a hungry brown dog on their doorstep. Papa reminded Ezra that they barely have enough to feed themselves but Rebecca reminded Papa that “we must feast on Hanukkah.” So, since “a dog is one of God’s creatures too” the family let the dog “stay and share what we have.”

Each night of Hanukkah after that there was less and less to eat and the snow kept on falling. And then on the eighth night the snow finally ceased and the family went outside. Then a truly miraculous thing happened. The cat and the dog gave the Menashe family a special Hanukkah gift.

In this story about a Hanukkah miracle, children will learn about a family who, though they have so little, are still willing to share with others. With soft atmospheric illustrations and gentle loving story, this a perfect title to read during the Hanukkah holiday.

At the back of the book the author includes further information about Hanukkah, a recipe for Potato Latkes, and directions on how to play dreidel.