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One Latke Trying to Find Its Place in the World: Lemony Snicket's The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story

One Latke Trying to Find Its Place in the World: Lemony Snicket's The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story
Photo: Lesley Balla

Before you dig into your favorite latkes this week, take time to think about the little potato pancake in Lemony Snicket's The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story.

The quirky kid's book is supposed to be a subtle telling of the story of Hanukkah, and why it's OK to be different during this time of comfort and joy. But in truth, it just makes us hungry.

An irate little latke hates hot pans of oil and howls about it through the streets of his small village. A string of twinkling lights thinks it's "basically hashbrowns" (blasphemous!) that would make a fine accompaniment to a Christmas ham. And a candy cane accuses the latke's "mouthwatering smell" of overpowering its own peppermint charms. A pine tree won't let it rest beneath its boughs because a potato pancake is not a gift.

The latke exhausts itself from so much screaming and telling his tales, until one day, it finds a family who truly appreciates it for what it is. And they can't wait to adorn it with applesauce, sour cream or jam.

The little latke is finally understood... and really very delicious.


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