Here is a book that contains all the fun of Hanukkah latkes in a humor-filled, vividly illustrated, rhyming confection. Big Larry is an alligator with a toothy but friendly grin who has been in the latke business for years, selling his delectable pancakes from a food truck. He has a large, enthusiastic following, and his many customers eagerly line up for his Hanukkah treats.
One day Larry decides to be creative and vary the traditional recipe, substituting a variety of fruits and vegetables for the traditional potatoes in hopes of landing on the perfect innovation. Peppers, pears, perhaps artichokes…there are so many choices for Larry to try. Starfruit, kiwi, apricots, berries…the world is full of possibilities.
But as appealing as each of the new choices may be, none seems to quite fill the bill — the pancakes don’t have their usual texture or crunch. With spirit and verve, Larry keeps trying; he simply refuses to give up. And then, finally, he creates a perfect blend of the traditional and the new. Success at last!
Larry’s traditional latke recipe is included along with a recipe for his ultimate creation — Big Larry’s Rainbow Latkes with Fresh Rainbow Salsa.
The rollicking tale has a number of gentle messages: finding new challenges, sticking to them until you achieve success, combining family traditions with creative approaches, and more. Other Hanukkah-themed stories will teach children more about the history and customs of the holiday. This one is purely delicious fun.
Michal Hoschander Malen is the editor of Jewish Book Council’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A former librarian, she has lectured on topics relating to literacy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.