Every Hannukah, Faigel makes her famous latkes. But one year, on the first night of Hannukah, she suddenly forgets the recipe. Her bumbling husband Shmuel decides to ask the Rabbi for help. As he is the wisest man around, perhaps he will know how many potatoes Faigel should use. The Rabbi, who happens to be very hungry that day, instructs them to use all the potatoes they have because, “On Hannukah, that’s what potatoes are for.” Shmuel thinks this is very sage advice, and runs back to tell an exasperated Faigel who is scrambling in the kitchen. Shmuel solicits the Rabbi’s opinion for every latke ingredient, and he doles out the same advice, which is to use all the ingredients they’ve got because on Hannukah, that is what they are for. Frustrated by Shmuel’s antics and the piles of ingredients in the kitchen, Faigel peels, chops and fries until each latke is “a crispy golden masterpiece.” However, the outcome is way too many latkes. Faigel, Shmuel and the Rabbi cannot eat them all by themselves. The answer, the Rabbi says, is that they need more mouths. So, they invite the entire village over to share the Hannukah treats and thereby solve the problem.
The book contains a brief note on the history of Chelm stories, explaining that Chelm (otherwise known as the “village of fools”) is a fictional European town in Jewish folklore whose residents are “famous for their ridiculous problems and their often equally ridiculous solutions.”
The comical plot and dialogue of Way Too Many Latkes fit perfectly into the theme of a Chelm story. This is a delightful book for young readers.