In a Latke Trouble

Dori Wein­stein

  • Review
By – November 29, 2021

In a Latke Trou­ble is the fourth install­ment in Dori Wein­stein’s series about the Sil­ver fam­i­ly and the charm­ing, fun, cre­ative way they cel­e­brate Jew­ish hol­i­days and tra­di­tions. This time, the Sil­ver twins, nick­named YoYo and YaYa based on their Hebrew names of Yoel and Yael, glee­ful­ly antic­i­pate Hanukkah. They have formed a club with their school­mates in which they dare one anoth­er to com­plete a series of chal­lenges. A cre­ative les­son by a mar­velous edu­ca­tor who is their shul school” rab­bi, some wise deci­sions by their par­ents, and a whole­some, sin­cere atti­tude shown by the chil­dren them­selves help them under­stand that there are many lessons in the pop­u­lar hol­i­day that are not appar­ent at first glance. Ulti­mate­ly, YoYo and YaYa learn that chal­lenges can be broad­er than the ones they had antic­i­pat­ed and can include help­ing oth­ers and deep­en­ing their under­stand­ing of their places in the world.

The sto­ry is packed with well-researched infor­ma­tion about Hanukkah but focus­es most intense­ly on the broad­er lessons inher­ent in its cel­e­bra­tion includ­ing kind­ness, thought­ful­ness, respect, and reded­i­ca­tion to goals, all inspired by what the chil­dren have learned about the Mac­cabees. Humor abounds, inter­twin­ing with the deep­er lessons learned and result­ing in a book that is thor­ough­ly enter­tain­ing but also pro­vides more than the stan­dard Hanukkah fare. Mid­dle grade read­ers will have fun and will also walk away with a renewed appre­ci­a­tion for the holiday.

Michal Hoschan­der Malen is the edi­tor of Jew­ish Book Coun­cil’s young adult and children’s book reviews. A for­mer librar­i­an, she has lec­tured on top­ics relat­ing to lit­er­a­cy, run book clubs, and loves to read aloud to her grandchildren.

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