Everything on a Waffle

Horvath, Polly

Published by Square Fish, 2008
ISBN 10: 0312380046 / ISBN 13: 9780312380045
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Primrose Squarp simply knows her parents did not perish at sea during a terrible storm, but try convincing the other residents of Coal Harbour on that score. For all practical purposes, at least for the time being, Primrose is an orphan, and there's no great clamoring of prospective adopters. After realizing the impracticality of continuing to pay Miss Perfidy (a mothball-scented elderly lady) an hourly wage to baby-sit her, the town council is able to locate a relative, Uncle Jack, who reluctantly takes Primrose into his care. Primrose does warm up to living with him and in his home, despite the eerie noises resembling a hockey game that haunt her in the night. But true sanctuary can always be found at a restaurant called The Girl in the Swing, where everything―including lasagna―is served on a waffle, and where the proprietor, Miss Bowzer, offers a willing ear, as well as sage advice. Through a mixture of eccentric humor and probing philosophy, author Polly Horvath makes Primrose's search for peace and understanding a most memorable one.

Everything on a Waffle is a 2001 Boston Globe - Horn Book Award Honor Book for Fiction and Poetry and a 2002 Newbery Honor Book.

Review: In the small Canadian town of Coal Harbour, in a quaint restaurant called The Girl on the Red Swing, everything comes on a waffle--lasagna, fish, you name it. Even waffles! Eleven-year-old Primrose Squarp loves this homey place, especially its owner, Kate Bowzer, who takes her under her wing, teaches her how to cook, and doesn't patronize or chastise her, even when she puts her guinea pig too close to the oven and it catches fire. Primrose can use a little extra attention. Her parents were lost at sea, and everyone but her thinks they are dead. Her Uncle Jack, who kindly takes her in, is perfectly nice, but doesn't have much time on his hands. Miss Perfidy, her paid babysitter-guardian, smells like mothballs and really doesn't like children, and her school guidance counselor, Miss Honeycut, an uppity British woman of the world, is too caught up in her own long-winded stories to be any kind of confidante. Nobody knows what exactly to think of young Primrose, and Primrose doesn't quite know what to make of her small community, either.

She entertains herself in a variety of ways--mostly by wryly observing those around her with wisdom, compassion, and slightly cynical humor that belie her years. She also sits on the dock and waits for her parents to get back, goes to the store and tells the grocer the cottage cheese has expired (not appreciated), and writes recipes that her mother taught her in a memo pad. About Caramel Apples, she writes: "Do not muck around with chocolate or nuts or anything else fancy that may tempt you. It will only gum up the works. Sometimes you get tempted to make something wonderful even better, but in doing so you lose what was so wonderful to begin with." Everything on a Waffle is ultimately a folksy, Garrison Keillor-style take on small-town life, spiced with sometimes hilarious, sometimes poignant anecdotes about the quirks and adventures of individual townspeople as seen through Primrose's wise eyes. It's a quiet, but very funny book, infused with the hope of a girl who knows in her heart that there are things that science, and even the uppity Miss Honeycut, can't explain. We first were introduced to author Polly Horvath with her National Book Award finalist, The Trolls, which you absolutely have to read if you haven't already! (Ages 9 to 13) --Karin Snelson

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Title: Everything on a Waffle
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication Date: 2008
Binding: Paperback
Book Condition: Used: Good

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