Latkes and Apple­sauce: A Hanukkah Story

  • Review
By – December 15, 2022

This beau­ti­ful edi­tion of a Hanukkah clas­sic comes with all new art and sub­stan­tial back mat­ter, which includes the sto­ry of Hanukkah and an expla­na­tion of the wide­spread cus­tom of eat­ing latkes with apple­sauce and play­ing the dreidel.

The sto­ry is sim­ple and charm­ing. A lov­ing fam­i­ly with two young chil­dren attempts to cel­e­brate Hanukkah, but a bliz­zard rages out­side their snug home. Every­thing is cov­ered in snow, includ­ing their pota­to patch and trees. They can’t dig pota­toes for latkes or pick apples for apple­sauce. Their larder is bare, and they are hungry.

Two pets, a fuzzy dog and a fluffy kit­ten, are lost in the storm, and they seek shel­ter in the family’s warm, bright­ly lit house. They res­cue the pets and the pets, in turn, save Hanukkah by uncov­er­ing the pota­toes and apples from the snow. The par­ents, chil­dren, and pets can now feast on a meal of deli­cious fried latkes accom­pa­nied by sweet, fresh apple­sauce. But the new pets need names. What could be more appro­pri­ate than a dog named Latke and a kit­ten named Apple­sauce? Young read­ers will be remind­ed that when they care for oth­ers, their kind­ness will be returned.

The gen­tly col­ored art is rem­i­nis­cent of a folk­tale. It fea­tures a fam­i­ly with real­is­tic facial expres­sions sit­u­at­ed in a lush and dreamy envi­ron­ment, enhanc­ing an alto­geth­er sat­is­fy­ing tale.

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.

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