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Funniest holiday book ever: Lemony Snicket’s “The Latke who couldn’t stop screaming: A Christmas Story.”

Hannukah is not Jewish Christmas.   This is difficult to explain, because Hannukah usually falls in December. (The date varies, since Jewish holidays follow the lunar calendar.)  During Hannukah, it is customary to exchange gifts.  Oh, and Hannukah is also called, “The Festival of Lights.”  Confused?  Afraid to ask?

A latke is a potato pancake traditionally eaten at Hannukah time.  In “The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming“, a latke is the central character of a Christmas story, which begins:  “This story ends in someone’s mouth.” The moment the latke is dropped into the frying pan, it begins screaming and runs away into the snow-covered village.  Along the way, it meets various talking Christmas decorations who don’t “get” the Latke. He looks kind of like a hash brown that would go nicely with a Christmas ham.  The Candy Cane is simply too self-absorbed to understand that not everyone desires a minty scent.  Every time the latke is misunderstood, he screams.

Through a series of quirky encounters, the latke manages to explain parts of the story and traditions of Hannukah.  Silly and satirical, yet the message of religious tolerance and education is not lost.

In case, you’re still confused, here’s a funny clip of the author and illustrator explaining the differences between Christmas and Hannukah at a book signing. (Well, sort of.)


You will probably find this book in the Christmas section, with its red, green, and gold cover.  It’s part Christmas, part Hannukah, and truly a perfect holiday book with Snicket’s signature clever writing. (See my previous post about Snicket’s “The Composer is Dead.”) Lisa Brown’s delightful illustrations for young children and Snickett’s sharp writing make this book an ideal gift for the whole family. That is, no matter what  you are celebrating this holiday season!


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