Latke, the Lucky Dog

by Ellen Fischer (Author) Tiphanie Beeke (Illustrator)

Reading Level: 2nd − 3rd Grade
Rescued from an animal shelter on the first night of Hanukkah, Latke has trouble learning the house rules. Despite a series of mishaps, he is one Lucky Dog!
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School Library Journal

PreS-K—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.—Teri Markson, Los Angeles Public Library

Copyright 2014 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.

Review quotes

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

Lexile Measure
Guided Reading Level
Kar-Ben Publishing (R)
Publication date
August 20, 2014
BISAC categories
JUV000000 - Juvenile Fiction | General
Library of Congress categories

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