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Latke, the Lucky Dog
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About the Author

Ellen Fischer was born in St. Louis. Following graduation from Washington University, she taught children with special needs and then ESL at a Jewish Day School. She lives in Greensboro, North Carolina with her husband. They have three children.

Reviews

Do we need another juvenile Hanukkah book? The answer is definitively yes, in the case of this lovely new dog-centric book which gives a unique perspective on the holiday. An adorable newly adopted puppy has been res-cued from an animal shelter on the first night of Hanukkah and joins all his new family's celebrations. Latke manages to continuously behave somewhat inappropriately, thinking the delicious treats on the table and counter are for him, and the presents are his to unwrap. Fortunately, despite this, he is treated with lots of affection by his new family. Hoping he won't be sent back to the animal shelter, he tries to improve his behavior.

Many symbols of the holiday appear in the colorful and age-appropriate illustrations: donuts, menorah, gifts wrapped in Jewish star wrapping paper, latkes, dreidels, applesauce, candles, and chocolate money abound. The illustrator loves to draw foxes and dogs, and she conveys warm feelings toward the sensitive pet. The Hebrew sufganiyot is used to describe donuts and the Yiddish words gelt and latkes also appear. On the page following the story there is a paragraph detailing the history and customs of Hanukkah.

This sweet holiday story, told with humor, is perfect for the youngest listener through beginning reader. -- Jewish Book World

-- "Magazine"

Youngsters will root for the puppy who is adopted by a family as a Hanukkah present for their children. Hijinks ensue and the family is very tolerant as the young dog learns proper behavior. They name him Latke because his coloring is like a potato pancake. As the family lights each candle in the menorah, Latke seems to get into a jam. There is a note at the back of the book explaining the holiday of Hanukkah and unfamiliar terms. Child-like illustrations perfectly match the text. A cooking tie-in to the book would be appropriate. It is recommended for those libraries that need to round out their holiday book choices. [Editor's Note: Available in e-book format and paperback.] Recommended. Library Media Connection

-- "Journal"

A family rescues a golden brown dog from the animal shelter and names it Latke in honor of the beginning of Hanukkah. Each successive night, he gets in a bit of trouble, eating a platter of sufganiyot (fried donuts), tearing open presents, chewing up candles, and drooling on the Hanukkah gelt, and each night the family gets a little mad and then forgives him. A new pet is a growing experience for both the family and the pup, and the narration focuses on Latke's gratitude for being taken in ('I am one lucky dog!'), even as he hopes not to lose the family's affection while learning to function in their home. He is adorable, fluffy, and expressive, and Beeke's sunny palette and childlike illustrative style keep things light. This is a pleasant Hanukkah title, with the bonus of nicely conveying that the rescued animal is a lucky dog indeed. A brief description of the holiday is included. --School Library Journal

-- "Journal"

Latke, a playful golden brown shelter dog with good intentions, comes to live with his new family on the first night of Hanukkah. However, he scoffs at the sufganiyot (jelly donuts), shreds the present wrappings, gobbles the latkes, gnaws on a dreidel, topples the applesauce, slobbers on the chocolate Hanukkah coins, and chomps the menorah candles into a sticky mess. Discouraged, the family begins to question their decision to adopt, until the final night of Hanukkah when they present him with his very own chew toy. Fischer's humorous story is narrated from Latke's perspective, effectively contrasting his well-meant exuberance with the family's growing distress. The kids are mostly understanding; Mom and Dad, not so much. Beeke's colorful artwork depicts everyone's efforts to do the right thing, while small touches (such as the candles in the menorah) convey holiday details. The story's secular tone will please less observant families. Pair with Jane Yolen's How Do Dinosaurs Say Happy Chanukah (2012) for another guide to proper holiday behavior. -- Booklist Online

-- "Website"

On the first night of Hanukkah, a family adopts a little golden-brown dog and names it Latke. As the family celebrates the Festival of Lights, Latke joins in, thinking, 'I am one lucky dog!' But he has a lot to learn about how to behave. This engaging romp follows Latke as he chews his way through the eight nights of Hanukkah. Told in Latke's voice, the story highlights the holiday's traditions as well as the love between the dog and his new family. Cheerful textured illustrations capture all of Latke's mischief. --starred, The Horn Book Magazine

-- "Journal"

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