Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Latkes, Latkes Good to eat: A Chanukah Story

Latkes, Latkes Good to eat: A Chanukah Story

Naomi Howland
Picture Book
For ages 4 to 8
Clarion, 2004   ISBN: 978-0618492954

Sadie lives in a draughty little house with her four brothers and her mother. These days her mother is not often at home so Sadie has to take care of her brothers and take care of the house. One bitterly cold winter?s night ? on the first night of Hanukkah - Sadie goes out to get firewood for the stove. In the woods she meets a frail old lady and Sadie felt so sorry for the old lady that she gives her the firewood that she had collected. To reward Sadie for her kindness the old lady gives Sadie a frying pan. She tells Sadie the words of a spell to say over the pan and tells her that Sadie should be the only one to use the magic words.

Back at the house, the boys are all very hungry and cold, so quickly Sadie says the magic words over the frying pan and before her astonished eyes she sees latkes suddenly appear in the pan cooking merrily. Needless to say the children all eat well that night. Indeed they eat well for the rest of Chanukah until the afternoon of the eighth night. Sadie decides to go and look for the old lady who gave her the frying pan and while she is out the boys decide to try using the frying pan themselves. They know the words to get the frying pan to start making latkes but they don?t know the words to make it stop. You can only imagine what happens next.

Children will love this holiday story about a poor Russian Jewish family who are given a special gift when they show charity to someone who is in need of help. They will laugh as they watch the four brothers getting buried under an avalanche of latkes and will be delighted when someone figures out what should be done with this unexpected bounty.

Wonderful folkloric illustrations perfectly capture the magic of this story and the flavor of life in a Russian village long ago.