The Three Latkes
Which latke tastes the best?
When three Hanukkah latkes fight over which of them tastes the best, the winner is decided by the family cat. Which will he choose? The excited latkes can’t wait to find out, but perhaps they should be careful what they wish for!
Eric A. Kimmel has been writing for children for more than 40 years. His 100-plus titles include such classics as Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock and The Chanukkah Guest. He lives in Portland, Oregon.
Feronia Parker-Thomas was born and raised in South West England. She studied at Camberwell College of Art in London. She and her family now call Bristol home.
The table is set for the first night of Hanukkah as three stylish latkes engage in a bragfest. Made in turn from red potato, yellow potato, and gold potato, each claims first place in deliciousness. Red Latke states that vegetable oil gives him a 'beautiful color.' Yellow Latke proclaims that frying in schmaltz gives the best taste. Gold Latke smugly asserts that 'peanut oil is the healthiest.' Who will settle this dispute? A very observant cat will, and she is no fickle culinary feline. Adding applesauce to Red Latke, she gobbles him up. Dipping Yellow Latke in sour cream makes him a tasty treat. A 'smear' of strawberry jam helps the cat devour Gold Latke. And her verdict? Readers will have to follow the appended recipe and come to their own tasty conclusions. With the concatenation of threes, Kimmel follows a traditional European storytelling pattern in this entertaining holiday tale for young readers. Parker-Thomas gives each latke his own unique identity in addition to the type of potato and frying medium. Red Latke sports a baseball cap, Yellow Latke a fedora and bow tie, and the healthy Gold Latke a sweatband and gold medal. Shredded and fried, they look a lot like fuzzballs with eyes, mouths, and pipestem limbs.
The cat is suitably expressive. Fry up a batch and relish every morsel. -- Kirkus Reviews
It's the first night of Hanukkah in this rhythmic fable by Kimmel, and three anthropomorphic latkes--one red with a trucker cap; one yellow with a fedora, bow tie, and walking stick; and one gold with a sweatband and first place medal--are arguing over which of them tastes best. Each claims that it is the most delicious based upon the type of potato it's made of (which gives the latkes their respective colors) and what it's fried in: 'I am fried in schmaltz--chicken fat. That's why I taste so good, ' says Yellow Latke. An impartial judge is needed, and the latkes choose 'the clever cat, ' who pairs each potato pancake with its suggested topping--applesauce, sour cream, and strawberry jam, respectively--and then resolves the argument by eating all three, leaving the question unanswered. Straightforward visual framings by Parker-Thomas, which feature crayon and pencil textures, keep the mood light even with the peremptory ending. Back matter features a recipe for the 'Very Best Latkes'. -- Publishers Weekly
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