Narrated by the dog himself, Latke, The Lucky Dog by Ellen Fischer (Kar-Ben Publishing, 2014) is a charming book for kids 2-7 years old. In it, Latke the dog tells readers how lucky he is that a family with two children came to a shelter on the first night of Chanukah and took him home, naming him Latke because of his color. However, since poor Latke isn’t used to being with a family, his story is all about his eight nights of misadventures, coupled with his repeated acknowledgement that he is such a lucky dog to have been chosen by this family.
Although the story is very cute, there isn’t much about the family trying to train Latke, so parents could use the book as an opportunity to talk with their kids about what it means to adopt a pet and the responsibilities pet ownership entails. Or, parents could broaden the discussion to what it means to bring someone or something new into your environment – what role you might play, what changes you might need to make in your daily routine.
Fischer has written a number of children’s books and lives in Greensboro, N.C. The lively illustrations in a jagged style by artist Tiphanie Beeke, who lives in the south of France, fit the mood of the book very well.
Sybil Kaplan is a journalist, foreign correspondent, lecturer, food writer and book reviewer who lives in Jerusalem. She also does the restaurant features for janglo.net and leads weekly shuk walks in English in Jerusalem’s Jewish food market.