Who Couldn't Stop Screaming," Snicket tells a Christmas story about a Hanukkah staple: the potato pancake, or latke. He's born when he hits the frying pan full of olive oil, and takes off through the town writhing in agony. Seriously, 14 of its mere 48 pages are devoted to him simply screaming "AAAHHHHHHHH!!!" in pain.
And the poor pancake's screaming then continues, stopping only for brief conversations with a pine tree and a miffed candy cane, who says, "I'm trying to sprinkle the night air with my peppermint scent. Your mouthwatering smell, not to mention all that yelping, is spoiling the effect."
With charmingly simple illustrations by Lisa Brown, Snicket has crafted an easily digestible fable that's also one of the funniest books of the year. I laughed out loud several times at its somewhat morbid premise, non-sequitur delivery and absurdist story. Whether you're Christian, Jewish, atheist or agnostic, it's difficult not to succumb to Snicket's brand of snark.