The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming

( 23 )

Overview


Latkes are potato pancakes served at Hanukkah, and Lemony Snicket is an alleged children’s author. For the first time in literary history, these two elements are combined in one book. A particularly irate latke is the star of The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming, but many other holiday icons appear and even speak: flashing colored lights, cane-shaped candy, a pine tree. Santa Claus is briefly discussed as well. The ending is happy, at least for some. People who are interested in any or all of these things will ...
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Overview


Latkes are potato pancakes served at Hanukkah, and Lemony Snicket is an alleged children’s author. For the first time in literary history, these two elements are combined in one book. A particularly irate latke is the star of The Latke Who Couldn’t Stop Screaming, but many other holiday icons appear and even speak: flashing colored lights, cane-shaped candy, a pine tree. Santa Claus is briefly discussed as well. The ending is happy, at least for some. People who are interested in any or all of these things will find this book so enjoyable it will feel as though Hanukkah were being celebrated for several years, rather than eight nights.
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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

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. (Nov.)

Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781932416879
  • Publisher: McSweeney's Publishing
  • Publication date: 10/28/2007
  • Pages: 48
  • Sales rank: 633,311
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 6.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Lemony Snicket

Lemony Snicket is the author of Lemony Snicket: The Unauthorized Autobiography and A Series Of Unfortunate Events. His whereabouts are unknown. Lisa Brown is the author and illustrator of Baby Make Me Breakfast, Baby Mix Me a Drink, Baby Fix My Car, and Baby Do My Banking. She lives in San Francisco with her family.

Biography

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end -- and, in the case of Lemony Snicket, all unfortunate things must come to an end, too. After seven years and thirteen episodes, the much beloved A Series of Unfortunate Events books are drawing to a close. At least, that's what Snicket's "handler" Daniel Handler says.

But before getting to what promises to be "the most unfortunate event of all," it is first necessary to familiarize oneself with the mysterious man who created a mega-selling series of children's novels pivoting on the premise of placing young people in peril. According to his autobiography Lemony Snicket: the Unauthorized Autobiography, Snicket "grew up near the sea and currently lives beneath it. To his horror and dismay, he has no wife or children, only enemies, associates, and the occasional loyal manservant. His trial has been delayed, so he is free to continue researching and recording the tragic tales of the Baudelaire orphans." Hmmm. Perhaps an autobiography purporting that it may or may not be true isn't the best place to begin.

Instead, let us focus on Daniel Handler, the man who might actually be responsible for composing the Series of Unfortunate Events books according to certain skeptics (which include Handler, himself). Daniel Handler has been asked many times why anyone would want to make a career of chronicling the ghastly trials of a trio of ill-fated orphans. "When I was young, my favorite stories were not the sort of children's books that are constantly being thrust at you when you're little," he explained in an audio essay on Barnes & Noble.com. "I didn't like books where people played on a sports team and won a bunch of games, or went to summer camp and had a wonderful time. I really liked a book where a witch might cut a child's head off or a pack of angry dogs might burst through a door and terrorize a family. So, I guess it should not be surprising that when I turned to children's literature I tried to think of all sorts of interesting things to happen to small children, and all of these things were pretty dreadful."

Handler has long made it clear that his wildly popular series would be limited to thirteen installments. The Penultimate Peril: Book the Twelfth finds the much-beleaguered Baudelaire orphans "enjoying" a family vacation at a menacing hotel, and Handler is wrapping up his saga with The End: Book the Thirteenth, which promises to tie up all remaining threads in the story in an undoubtedly exciting manner.

However, the conclusion of his series is no indication that Handler plans on bringing his writing career to an end. He has also written adult-targeted titles under his own name, including his latest, Adverbs: A Novel. This exploration of love, which Publishers Weekly deemed "lovely" and "lilting," may forgo the trademark Lemony Snicket wry morbidity, but Handler ensures readers that the book isn't without its own unfortunate events. "It's a fairly miserable story, as any story about love will be," he says. "People try to find love -- some of them find it, some of them don't, some of them have an unhappy time even if they do find it -- but it is considerably more cheerful than any of my so-called children's books."

Good To Know

Daniel Handler has a potentially embarrassing confession to make: he is an avowed accordion player. Handler says that when he told his parents about his decidedly uncool musical pursuits, they reacted "as if I had taken up heroin."

His interest in music does not end with the accordion. Close friend and leader of indie-rock band The Magnetic Fields Steven Merritt has written an original song for each audio book version of the Series of Unfortunate Events books. Merritt and Handler will be releasing a CD of all 13 "dreadful" songs when the final installment of the series is published in late 2006. Handler also lent his accordion-laying talents to The Magnetic Fields' critically acclaimed album 69 Love Songs.

Handler's persistence may rival that of the never-say-die Baudelaire orphans. His first novel, The Basic Eight, was rejected 37 times before it was finally published.

He enjoys the work of novelist Haruki Murakami so much that Handler devoted an entire essay to the subject in the plainly and guilelessly entitled Village Voice review, "I Love Murakami."

According to a former high school classmate writing in the local paper, Handler was "voted not only Class Clown, but also Best Actor, Chatterbox, and Teacher's Pet."

A few fun facts from our interview with Handler:

"I can cook anything."

"I know one very good card trick."

"I auditioned for an enormous role in the film Gigli."

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    1. Also Known As:
      In some parts, people get to know him through his handler, Daniel Handler.
    2. Hometown:
      Snicket is something of a nomad. Handler lives in San Francisco, California.
    1. Date of Birth:
      February 28, 1970
    2. Place of Birth:
      Handler was born in San Francisco in 1970, and says Snicket's family has roots in a land that's now underwater.
    1. Education:
      Handler is a 1992 graduate of Wesleyan University in Connecticut.
    2. Website:

Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 23 )
Rating Distribution

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 23 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 7, 2008

    more from this reviewer

    Educates and Entertains

    A latke makes a quick getaway from a frying pan hoping to challenge its fate, and so begins this Chanukah adventure. Along its journey, the latke encounters a Christmas tree, Christmas lights and a candy cane. Lemony Snicket's, The Latke Who Couldn't Stop Screaming: a Christmas Story, is a clever tale that offers a cursory overview of the history and meaning of Chanukah; simultaneously presenting a unique perspective of how it feels to celebrate a holiday that has no affiliation to the tsunami of all holidays, Christmas. <BR/><BR/>Because of its proximity to Christmas, Chanukah is often thought to be the Jewish version of that holiday. The Latke who Couldn¿t Stop Screaming provides the reader a tongue-in-cheek look into some of the real frustrations Jews face when dealing with misconceptions about Chanukah. The candy cane thinks that someone should write a carol about the latke; the Christmas lights, mistaking the delicacy for hash browns, envision the latke looking sublime next to a Christmas ham, and on it goes. The whimsical illustrations by Lisa Brown, keep the tale light, while the author vigorously repeats the theme that Chanukah is not related to Christmas. In the final pages of the story we see a Jewish family searching in the woods, the father holding an ax. When they come upon the perfect Christmas tree the family rejoices, but when the father peers under the tree and sees a latke, he is reminded of his own birthright. The importance of respecting one¿s cultural heritage is brought to the fore. <BR/><BR/>The author details some of the differences between the two holidays, such as the fact that gifts play a minimal role in the Chanukah celebration, also noting that the menorah candles are not just for ornamentation, but that they symbolize the Jewish history of survival. The Latke Who Couldn¿t Stop Screaming serves as a reminder to Jews of the power and beauty of their faith, while for non-Jews it is a primer, educating them about the differences between the two holidays. The overwhelming message is that all traditions are meaningful and unique, and must be honored as such. This tale is audacious and creative, and a welcomed addition to the holiday genre. <BR/><BR/>Quill says: A wonderful book for both children and parents that educates and entertains.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2007

    Hillarous

    This book is one of the funniest books I have ever read, and yet honestly relays the frustration of those who celebrate other holidays during the 'Holiday Season' I laughed so hard, I cried and then promptly bought copies for my friends.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    This delightful book lays bare all the frustration that I have ever felt or seen expressed by my fellows during the 'holiday season.' Better yet, it does so in true Snicket style, complete with covert humor, a good message, and a deliciously morbid finale. I would say that I wish I had had a book like this while growing up, but I do not think I could have enjoyed it then any more than I do now.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 28, 2010

    You are gonna love this book!!!!!

    This is a good book! Get it and find out why he is screaming!!!!! you and your kids are gonna love this book!!!!!

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  • Posted February 6, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Fun

    How could you not read this, if you are a fan of Lemony Snicket? Same great humor, and as always a lesson to be found. I like this book because in a culture of diversity this book simply reminds us that we are All people.
    I bought this book for my cousins and their new baby a Catholic/Jewish baby. I bought a book for our family so that we can see that even though we are all different, we all share one humanity.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 11, 2009

    Wonderful book! Shared it in class; donated to school library; etc. Really loved it.

    I found it ironic that this book, the message of which is: "Hanukkah is different than Christmas and that's ok" was positioned in the Xmas section at our local Barnes and Noble.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2009

    Finally-A story worthy of creating a family tradition on Chanukah!

    Witty, funny, touching and even educational. Brilliant little story that teaches the traditions of Chanukah and how it is different from Christmas so all can understand and enjoy. I sent copies to my entire family the year it came out. My father calls every year now and reads it to my daughter on the first night of Chanukah. I highly recommend taking this book to your child's school and reading it in the classroom. Finally Jewish children can have something truly special of their own every December. Now if only Lemony Snicket would turn this one into an animated holiday special...

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  • Posted February 28, 2009

    Holiday fun

    I celebrate Christmas. My granddaughter celebrates Hanukkah. What a fun way to mesh the two holidays!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2009

    Hilarious

    This is like the gingerbread man but for Hanukah. It's up to Lemony Snicket usual sarcastic standards. Really, really funny.

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  • Posted January 25, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    Quick Fun Reading

    I finished this in one sitting. It's a funny little story about the odd life of a latyke, a potato pancake from a traditional Jewish recipe in a world with Christmas. It's lighthearted and in comical way touches on the bridge between gentile and Jewish cultures. God must have a sense of humor.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2007

    Laughed and Laughed

    One of the funniest holiday books I have ever read. I was actually a bit embarrassed by how bad I was laughing while in the store. Must read!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 25, 2007

    Freakin' Awesome

    This book looks super cool and funny.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 28, 2007

    An Atypical Chanukah Story

    We bought this book for my daughter today, the day of its release. She's a big fan of 'Mr. Snicket.' Had I the opportunity to read it first, I would have bought a 1/2 dozen - and placed at least one of them in the library of my daughter's elementary school. This book is perfect for a child who feels in the minority every December, as well as for every adult who knows it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 9, 2007

    A reviewer

    Absolutely hysterically funny!!! I loved the book and reread it three times in the first day. I would love to see this on video.

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    Posted October 29, 2008

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    Posted December 15, 2008

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    Posted March 24, 2009

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    Posted December 31, 2009

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    Posted April 18, 2009

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    Posted December 20, 2008

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