Lar­ry’s Latkes

Jen­ny Wald­man, Ben White­house (Illus­tra­tor)

  • Review
By – November 9, 2021

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.

Discussion Questions