The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story
Lemony Snicket, , illus. by Lisa Brown. . McSweeney?s, $9.95 (43pp) ISBN 978-193241687-9
Go ahead and cover this book in red, stamp it with gold foil and label it a Christmas story—Lemony Snicket fans won’t be fooled. The miraculous birth here is of a potato pancake, which, unlike its less loquacious literary cousin the Gingerbread Man, begins screaming the moment it gets cooked. Leaping out of the frying pan and into the great white spaces of Brown’s retro-cool graphics, the latke screams even louder as it tries in vain to explain itself and its role at Hanukkah to flashing colored lights (“So you’re basically hash browns,” they reply. “Maybe you can be served alongside a Christmas ham”) and an equally Christmas-centric candy cane and tree. Embedding a satirical sting in his elegantly cadenced prose, the author (Daniel Handler) up-ends any number of conventions in what may be his funniest book yet. The gift-edition trim size makes this as easy a choice for adults as for the Unfortunate Events crowd. All ages.
Reviewed on: 10/29/2007