The Three Latkes

Kar-Ben. Oct. 2021. 24p. Tr $17.99. ISBN 9781541588912; pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781541588929.
PreS-Gr 1–This goofy and slightly odd story from veteran author Kimmel just misses the mark. Three latkes of red, yellow, and gold (their color is based on the potato type) are arguing about which one is the tastiest. Unable to decide, they ask the cat. The clever cat says it must taste them to decide, dips each one in a different condiment, and consumes them. No one knows which was the best, because the latkes are gone, and the cat only says, “Meow.” The text is amusing, not overly wordy, and has the feel of an old-fashioned fable. That said, the tension is minimal, and there really is no plot or moral, other than that people still argue about how best to make and top their latkes. Additionally, the one fried in chicken fat is also the one dipped in sour cream, which therefore renders it non-kosher, an unnecessarily poor choice that may put off potential readers. The illustrations are appealing. The latkes are brightly colored, shaggy blobs with round eyeballs, stick arms and legs, and line mouths, while the cat has textured, striped fur, a Chanukah bandana, and an expressive face. The backgrounds are simple, keeping the viewers’ eyes squarely on the characters, and the cat goes from looking quite devilish to replete and content.
VERDICT The story is mildly amusing but the Chanukah aspect of the story seems to be nearly beside the point. Its impact does not outweigh the missteps. Pass on this one.

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