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Larry's Latkes

Ben Whitehouse
When Larry the alligator decides to make a brand-new latke recipe for a Hanukkah party, it doesn't go well at all. But his animal friends at the farmer's market pitch in to help throw a perfect--and perfectly delicious--party.
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The cartoon illustrations are bold and brash, brimming over the pages with activity. . .  [Larry's Latkes] gives readers who celebrate [Hanukkah] the sort of playful, largely secular experience found in countless Christmas books.   ---Kirkus Reviews

All the fun of Hanukkah latkes in a humor-filled, vivid­ly illus­trat­ed, rhyming con­fec­tion . . . purely delicious fun. --Jewish Book Council

Delightful . . . By the end the reader wishes Larry would drive his latke truck to their neighborhood.      --Association of jewihs Libraries


Big Larry has a latke truck

he brings out once a year

The customers wait round the

block when Hanukkah is near.

Everyone knows that Big Larry makes the best latkes in town. This year he's throwing a Hanukkah party for all his friends, and the latkes need to be extra special.

Big Larry goes on a sulinary quest to find brand-new latke flavors. But peaches are a soggy mess, and turnips are a flop. Big Larry's kitchen is a latke disaster! Good thing he has some help from his firends.

Includes a tasty (and successful!) recipe for Rainbow Latkes with Fresh Rainbow Salsa.



Jenna Waldman grew up in Rhode Island, where she loved cooking potato latkes with her grandmother. She lives in teh San Francisco Bay Area, where she creates odd new pancake recipes to test on her husband and two boys. She is also the author of the book Sharkbot Shalom. You can visit Jenna at


Ben Whitehouse was born and raised in Birmingham, UK. He lives in Chepstow, Wales with his lovely partner, Yvonne; thier beautiful son, Timmy; and their crazy border collie, Sparrow. He worked in the animation industry as an animator and stop motion puppet maker before becoming an illustrator. You can visit Ben at


Here is a book that con­tains all the fun of Hanukkah latkes in a humor-filled, vivid­ly illus­trat­ed, rhyming con­fec­tion. Big Lar­ry is an alli­ga­tor with a toothy but friend­ly grin who has been in the latke busi­ness for years, sell­ing his delec­table pan­cakes from a food truck. He has a large, enthu­si­as­tic fol­low­ing, and his many cus­tomers eager­ly line up for his Hanukkah treats.

One day Lar­ry decides to be cre­ative and vary the tra­di­tion­al recipe, sub­sti­tut­ing a vari­ety of fruits and veg­eta­bles for the tra­di­tion­al pota­toes in hopes of land­ing on the per­fect inno­va­tion. Pep­pers, pears, per­haps artichokes…there are so many choic­es for Lar­ry to try. Star­fruit, kiwi, apri­cots, berries…the world is full of possibilities.

But as appeal­ing as each of the new choic­es may be, none seems to quite fill the bill — the pan­cakes don’t have their usu­al tex­ture or crunch. With spir­it and verve, Lar­ry keeps try­ing; he sim­ply refus­es to give up. And then, final­ly, he cre­ates a per­fect blend of the tra­di­tion­al and the new. Suc­cess at last!

Larry’s tra­di­tion­al latke recipe is includ­ed along with a recipe for his ulti­mate cre­ation — Big Larry’s Rain­bow Latkes with Fresh Rain­bow Salsa.

The rol­lick­ing tale has a num­ber of gen­tle mes­sages: find­ing new chal­lenges, stick­ing to them until you achieve suc­cess, com­bin­ing fam­i­ly tra­di­tions with cre­ative approach­es, and more. Oth­er Hanukkah-themed sto­ries will teach chil­dren more about the his­to­ry and cus­toms of the hol­i­day. This one is pure­ly deli­cious fun.


Can a Hanukkah latke be potato-less?

Larry is an alligator with a food truck. His customers range from mice to moose, and all are eager eaters. Larry uses his granny’s recipe but wonders if there is more to a latke than potatoes, onions, and matzo meal. Holding his basket, he visits a busy farmers market, selecting peppers, tomatillos, and pears, among other ingredients—but no potatoes. The culinary results are unsuccessful. He continues to pursue a new recipe in trial-and-error fashion using the newfound ingredients. It’s a catalog of foodie delicacies: leek, Camembert, kale, quince, chard, and more. He produces “a soggy mess” and “mushy-gushy glop.” With failure over the stove about to befall him, Larry turns back to the tried-and-true potato, returning to the farmers market on a “gator-tater quest.” At last the something-old, something-new formula achieves success. It’s a Hanukkah party for all as his very happy and hungry friends celebrate the first night of the holiday with a new twist on a traditional treat. The cartoon illustrations are bold and brash, brimming over the pages with activity. With more to say about farmers markets and cooking than Hanukkah (though a short note discusses the miracle of the oil), this title gives readers who celebrate the holiday the sort of playful, largely secular experience found in countless Christmas books.

Try this different but tasty recipe for latkes. (recipe) (Picture book. 4-7)



Food-truck owner Big Larry (an alligator) has always sold latkes from Grandma Gold Gator's recipe, but this year he decides to try new flavors. 

The farmers' market provides options, but his peach-, turnip-, and camambert-based latkes are each missing a key ingredient. Never fear: he comes to his senses, and the results are a delicious innovation in fusion dining. A well-metered text adnfriendly, cartoonish illsutrations make for an inviting story of mixing old and new. Back matter gives brief, miracle-focused information about the holiday as well as a recipe for latkes--with fresh rainbow salsa. 

--Shoshana Flax, HORN BOOK


This funny story will inspire some tinkering with the family latke recipe. Alligator chef Big Larry serves up fried perfection at his latke truck every year. But for his 10th annual Hanukkah party, he decides to shake up Grandma Golda Gator’s tried-and-true recipe. Scouring the farmer’s market, he finds exciting new ingredients and whips up distinct culinary mixtures—all of which turn into a soggy mess. Luckily, he discovers the secret to gourmet latke success and, with the help of his animal friends, pulls off a delicious Hanukkah miracle. Waldman’s clever rhymes will have kids giggling as they convey a gentle message about reimagining cherished traditions while preserving their strengths. Whitehouse’s adorable neighborhood of animals—from moose to mice—complement the playful text. At the end, Big Larry’s unique recipe is revealed for young cooks to try at home.

--Sarah Yahr Tucker, HADASSAH MAGAZINE


Just when you thought there couldn't be another take on hanukhah latkes, along comes Jenna Waldman’s delightful picture book, Larry’s Latkes. The main character, Larry, is an alligator with a friendly toothy smile who owns a once-a-year food truck that sells only latkes. All the animals in town look forward to patronizing Larry’s mobile establishment every Hanukkah because Larry makes the best latkes using his Grandma Golda Gator’s secret recipe. This year though, Larry starts thinking about changing things up, “But years of just potatoes make him wonder,/‘Is there more?’/The world is full of flavors I have never tried before.”

Larry rushes to the fruit and vegetable market to purchase artichokes, plums, melons, okra, peaches, tomatillos, etc. He soon learns that this rainbow of colors and flavors, although beautiful, don’t make tasty latkes. Larry has a big problem and wonders how to fix it. In a eureka moment, with potatoes dancing above his head, Larry realizes, “My latkes need POTATOES like a bagel needs its lox!” Just in time for the Hanukkah party, all the animals in the neighborhood help Larry peel, chop and mix the potatoes into a new hybrid latke that combines “the taste of something new with flavors from the past!”

Soon everyone is celebrating the first night of Hanukkah around Larry’s fun food truck, lighting the candles and eating the tasty new latkes. Waldman brings together the best of all story elements in this fine addition to everyone’s Hanukkah collection: food, friendship and innovation. She even includes a must-try recipe for “Big Larry’s Rainbow Latkes with Fresh Rainbow Salsa” at the end. Ben Whitehouse’s digitally rendered illustrations pack a lot of color, information and emotion into each page. By the end, the reader wishes Larry would drive his latke food truck to their neighborhood.

--Rena Citrin, Association of jewish Libraries