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Everything on a Waffle

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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. For all practical purposes, at least for the time being, Primrose is an orphan, and there's no great clamoring of prospective adopters. The town council is able to locate a relative, Uncle Jack, who reluctantly takes Primrose in. But true sanctuary can always be found at a restaurant called The Girl on the Red Swing, where everything, including lasagna, is served on a ...
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Overview

Primrose Squarp simply knows her parents did not perish at sea during a terrible storm, but try convincing the other residents of Coal Harbour. For all practical purposes, at least for the time being, Primrose is an orphan, and there's no great clamoring of prospective adopters. The town council is able to locate a relative, Uncle Jack, who reluctantly takes Primrose in. But true sanctuary can always be found at a restaurant called The Girl on the Red Swing, where everything, including lasagna, is served on a waffle, and where the proprietor, Miss Bowzer, offers a willing ear and sage advice.

Eleven-year-old Primrose living in a small fishing village in British Columbia recounts her experiences and all that she learns about human nature and the unpredictability of life in the months after her parents are lost at sea.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Even after her parents disappear at sea, an 11-year-old girl is convinced that they are still alive. As she is shuffled from household to household, the heroine delivers a "lively recital of her misadventures," PW wrote in a starred review. "A laugh-out-loud pleasure from beginning to triumphant end." Ages 10-up. (Sept.) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Horvath (The Trolls) delivers another hilariously puckish read with this tale of a (possibly) orphaned girl from a small Canadian fishing village. Eleven-year-old Primrose Squarp refuses to attend the memorial service for her parents after they disappear at sea. "Haven't you ever just known something deep in your heart without reason?" she demands of all and sundry, convinced her parents are still alive. Meanwhile, she is shuffled from the custody of her elderly neighbor Miss Perfidy to her likable but somewhat feckless Uncle Jack. Not unlike another beloved red-haired Canadian heroine, Primrose whose own hair is "the color of carrots in an apricot glaze (recipe to follow)" attracts trouble like a magnet. In addition to singeing the fur on the class guinea pig, she manages to lose a baby toe and part of a finger in chapters entitled "I Lose a Toe" and "I Lose Another Digit" accidents that land her in the foster care of an older couple whose stature and girth give them the look of "kindly old hard-boiled eggs." Primrose's lively recital of her misadventures comes complete with recipes, pungent descriptions ("the feeling of joy swept through my soul like fire up a vacuum") and memorable characters, among them the tough-talking, golden-hearted owner of a local restaurant that serves everything (even fish and chips) on waffles. A laugh-out-loud pleasure from beginning to triumphant end. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
Children's Literature
When her parents are lost in a storm at sea, Primrose is steadfast in her belief that they will return. The school counselor, certain that Primrose has lost touch with reality because of the many accidents that she has (she loses two fingers), attempts to convince her otherwise. She is just one of a number of unusual adult characters in the small town of Coal Harbor, British Columbia who influence Primrose's life. Her opportunistic Uncle Jack is supportive, as is the owner of the restaurant where every item on the menu is served, well, on a waffle. Each chapter ends with a recipe, grounding this novel in a common ordinary act necessary for physical survival—eating. Parallel to this is the need for emotional survival and a support system that will nourish it. This carefully constructed and rewarding story is served up with a cast of quirky characters, bizarre events, a deft touch of peculiar humor and a plucky heroine. 2001, Farrar Straus Giroux, $16.00. Ages 10 to 14. Reviewer: Sharon Salluzzo
VOYA
This novel combines the intensity of an Oprah book with the whimsy of Harry Potter and a dash of contextually based recipes as in Like Water for Chocolate (Doubleday, 1992) to create a tasty read. Primrose is orphaned at age eleven when her mother follows her father into a coastal Canadian storm that kills them both. In Primrose's mind, however, her parents are stranded on an island, awaiting rescue, despite the conciliatory advice from her babysitter and the school guidance counselor, or the taunting jeers of her classmates. She is placed under the guardianship of an elderly, tight-fisted neighbor, Miss Perfidy, who bills the state an hourly wage, until Primrose ends up with her realtor uncle who treats the girl like an adult as he scours the picturesque sea village for investment potential. When Primrose has too many accidents, she is placed with a family in a neighboring village, where she learns to live in the present again. What makes this book so extraordinary is the author's ability to capture humanity so genuinely. For example, when visiting the distant Miss Perfidy, Primrose becomes Miss Perfidy's confidante, sharing the older woman's feelings about loss of control and onset of senility: "I won't know tomorrow if you really came over for a sweater or if it was just another memory of something that never happened." The only fault in this book might be in its marketing. Perhaps because the main character is only eleven, the cover art targets a younger audience. Although upper elementary or middle school students would enjoy this book, older students will miss a funny, insightful, short piece of meaningful fiction unless directed to the book. Reviewer: Ann T. Reddy-Damon :
From The Critics
From a pretty serious premise emerges a very comic novel. Horvath, the author of The Trolls (Farrar Strauss Giroux, 1999), which was National Book Award finalist, tells the story of eleven-year-old Primrose Squarp (a perfectly hysterical name) who starts the book with two parents, but by page two has lost them both. Her father is a fisherman who is out to sea when a typhoon hits. When he doesn't return, Primrose's mother takes out their sailboat to locate him, but she, too, is taken by the storm. With no close relatives, Primrose's future becomes a matter of grand concern for the good burgers of her hometown of Coal Harbour, a small fishing village in British Columbia. Coal Harbour becomes almost a character in this book with its eccentric citizenry bouncing in and out of the story. Like the populace of Sweet Haven in the movie Popeye, the good folks of Coal Harbour scuttle about in the background of the story, peeking their eyes out and sticking their noses in Primrose's life. The names of the townspeople are as far-fetched and farcical as Primrose's moniker, such as Miss Perfidy, the frugal baby-sitter; Miss Honeycutt, the helpful school counselor; and the madcap café owner, Miss Bowser. Miss Bowser's café, The Girl on the Red Swing, is a central meeting point in the story. The café's menu is also appropriately zany as all meals, from steaks to fish and chips, are served on a waffle. Cuisine is a preoccupation of Primrose's. She fills her story full not only with references to food, but provides the recipes as well. But in between the food formula and comical conversation is Primrose's attempts to understand the sudden circumstances which have upended her life. Throughout most of thebook, whenever an adult mentions that Primrose's parents have died, she denies it. Despite the turns in her life, including losing a toe when she is almost run over by a truck, setting fire to a guinea pig, and being placed in a foster home, Primrose is never defeated. Even as Primrose wonders how she can go missing one toe and two parents, she is overcome by a sense of joy. Just as waffles are comfort food, Primrose finds comfort in the small things in her life. By the book's end, she discovers that "the important things that happen to you will happen to you even in the smallest places, like Coal Harbour." From its wacky cover featuring Primrose with her carrot-covered hair, making her appear to be Pippi Longstocking's long lost cousin, to a mountain of waffles, and the book's touching conclusion, Horvath serves up a delicate balance of pulled heart strings and tickled funny bones. Reviewer: Patrick Jones
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6 "Didn't you ever believe anything just because you knew it was true?" Eleven-year-old Primrose asks this question of the inhabitants of Coal Harbour, British Columbia whenever the topic of her parents' disappearance comes up. They were lost in a storm at sea, and she is the only one who believes they will return. Polly Horvath's Everything on a Waffle (Farrar, 2001) is Primrose's sweet and often quirky observations of the townspeople who help her cope with her loss. Moving from Miss Perfidy, the elderly babysitter, to Uncle Jack, her reluctant only relative, to foster parents Bert and Evie, with plenty of input from Miss Honeycut, the school counselor, and Miss Bowzer, the owner and operator of The Girl on the Red Swing, Primrose develops a philosophy of life that will satisfy young and old alike. This is a coming-of-age story of a child who believes with her heart while trying to make sense of the world around her. Primrose has a very strong voice, and Kathleen McInerney is the perfect narrator. She is girlish without being cloying, and conveys Primrose's youthful innocence and sense of humor without sarcasm or cynicism, Her reading of the recipes that appear at the end of each chapter not only binds the work together but illustrates Primrose's spirit. This unusual novel is a must for elementary school libraries. If you only have enough money in your budget for one audio purchase this year, make sure to buy this high quality and uplifting performance. -Maura Martin Smith, Somerset Elementary School, Shawnee Mission, KS Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Child Magazine
A Child Magazine Best Book of 2001 Pick

Eleven-year-old Primrose Squarp is convinced her parents aren't lost at sea, and so sails confidently through a series of eccentric guardians. She's aided by friend and confidante Miss Bowzer, the owner of a restaurant where everything, including pork chops, is served on a waffle (hence the title and recipes at the end of each chapter). First-rate characterizations and Primrose's sassy voice carry this sharply written, amusing story effortlessly along.

From the Publisher
*"Horvath (The Trolls) delivers another hilariously puckish read with this tale of a (possibly) orphaned girl from a small Canadian fishing village . . . A laugh-out-loud pleasure from beginning to triumphant end." —Starred, Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780374422080
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Publication date: 9/8/2004
  • Pages: 160
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Lexile: 950L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.16 (w) x 7.60 (h) x 0.41 (d)

Meet the Author

Polly Horvath is the author of many books for young people, including The Pepins and Their Problems, The Canning Season and The Trolls. Her numerous awards include the Newbery Honor, the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children's Literature, the Mr. Christie Award, the international White Raven, and the Young Adult Canadian Book of the Year. Horvath grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She attended the Canadian College of Dance in Toronto and the Martha Graham School of Contemporary Dance in New York City. She has taught ballet, waitressed, done temporary typing, and tended babies, but while doing these things she has always also written. Now that her children are in school, she spends the whole day writing, unless she sneaks out to buy groceries, lured away from her desk by the thought of fresh Cheez Whiz. She lives on Vancouver Island with her husband and two daughters.

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Table of Contents

My Parents Are Lost at Sea 3
I Move to Uncle Jack's 14
The Dead Whalers 20
I Am Almost Incarcerated 31
Lena's Boiled Potatoes 38
What Miss Bowzer Knew 48
I Lose All My Sweaters 58
I Lose a Toe 65
Uncle Jack's Idea 81
I Set Fire to a Guinea Pig 88
Dinner at The Girl on the Red Swing 97
I Lose Another Digit 108
Fire! 118
Miss Perfidy Leaves 125
Everybody Goes Home 140
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 40 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(17)

4 Star

(15)

3 Star

(5)

2 Star

(1)

1 Star

(2)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 39 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    I thought it was kind of sad

    It is sad what happens in their family!!

    2 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2010

    A Hilarious and Tender Book

    Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath is a story about an eleven-year-old girl named Primrose whose parents have been lost at sea. She knows deep in her soul that they are alive but while she waits for their return she is shuffled from caregiver to caregiver. Primrose finds her special place in a local restaurant where everything is served on a waffle, even lasagna, fish and pasta. The owner, Kate, becomes a wonderful friend to Primrose, being there for her, overlooking her many faults and also teaching her how to cook. Through her life in this small town, Primrose learns about herself and her future. Even through the recipes she writes down in her notebook (each chapter ends with a recipe), you can sense the lessons she is learning deep inside her heart. For example, when writing down a recipe for 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."

    I felt this book was hilarious and also tender. I found myself rooting for Primrose, even though she managed to find trouble at every turn. The many characters that weave in and out of Primrose's adventures were unusual and entertaining. You could sense the difference they made in Primrose's life as well as her affect on theirs. I also felt the author delivered the story in a wonderful way with descriptions like, "the feeling of joy swept through my soul like fire up a vacuum."

    Will Primrose reunite with her parents? Will Primrose find the peace and understanding she is looking for? It is worth reading this book to find out and the great recipes are a bonus.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 2, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    Not one of my true favorites........but it was OK!

    Everything on a Waffle started out OK. In the beginning it wasn't that absorbing. I mean everything kind of happened too fast. But towards the end it was alright. But if you don't like violence, I wouldn't recommend it. It wasn't THAT violent but Primrose lost half a finger, a toe, and a house burned down. Not to mention, Mrs. Perfidy dies, Primrose's parents are stuck at sea, and Herman (the guinea pig)catches on fire. But, like I said, towards the end, everything kind of turned out okay. I guess, in a way, I enjoyed it, but NOT one of my favorite books.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 23, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great Book

    This is book is so entertaining. It has been enjoyed by every child that I have recommended read it. It is not only engaging, but it encourages optimism and keeping a positive attitude. This is one of our favorite books.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2008

    Horrible

    Everything on a Waffle is basically a story about an orphaned girl who still believes above all that her parents are still alive. This book really has nothing to follow,such as a plot. You can't tell if Primrose is feeling any sort of emotion. Overall I wouldn't recommend this book unless you like to know some recipes that are posted in the book.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2006

    It was a book worth recomendation

    It was about a girl named Primrose, who lost both of her parents in a storm, and is pestered to believe that her parents have passed away. I liked this book quite a bit, except for the beginning, because the sentences are short and choppy.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2006

    Loved it!

    Polly Horvath has outdone herself on this one. Very cute for kids. An ophan finds her only relative and a restuarant that offers everything on a waffle.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 4, 2003

    Everything on a Waffle is a fantastic book u should read it .I love it.

    Everything on a Waffleon a waffledoesn't take place on a waffle . Sally a girl is fling from Canada to baby sit her niecs and nephews that she has never met. When she arrives to the house she thought it would be easy to baby sit , but i guess she was wrong . I guess her nioeces are getting into her makeup and jewlery. Her nephews are getting into her jewlery and her nieces and nephews are eatting her food. Sally is getting really mad. Well i would recomend this book to anyone who thinks that they are getting mad because this is a good book to read to see how someone named Sally's life is . I really liked this book u should like it, too.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 16, 2003

    Great Recipies

    I'm in the 5th grade and my teacher read this book to us, and after each chapter there is a recipe, well she would make some of the delicios treats and bring them for us to eat and they were great.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 23, 2003

    My favorite book!

    I loved this book. I originally picked it up to read for Reading Team, thinking the description on the back was for this book, not Trolls (by the same author). I was surprised to find it wasn't, but I loved the book! The characters are all somewhat odd and funny in their own ways, and all the trouble Primrose is hilarious! I recommend this to everybody.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 10, 2003

    It came on a Waffle

    This was a great story! It was so exciting. I would recommend this story to 4th through 8th graders.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2002

    This is the best, super-dooper book!

    I am 9 yrs old and I loved this book! It's the best ever! It is so funny! If you like cooking, it's for you too! I think you would like it. Please pick it up, because I think it's the best!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 12, 2012

    Great read!

    I am a fifth grade teacher and used this book with one of my guided reading groups. My students loved it. They especially liked how each chapter told a story within itself. They also liked the recipes at the end of each chapter, and a couple students even made and shared something they made. I'd definitely recommend this book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2008

    A waffle can hold anything

    It all starts out when Primrose loses her parents, when they get lost at sea. From there, everything goes down hill except for one thing, The Girl on the Red Swing. A restaurant Primrose loves that is owned by her best friend, Miss Bowzer. Together they fight through some bad injuries, and bad times, but no matter how hard the times get, Primrose still believes her parents are alive. So, to find if Primrose parents are alright and safe, or if Primrose is dreaming in nothing, you will have to read the book. This book was not very goo, but it did have some strong points. The strongest point was that it had food recipes in it, so if you liked to cook you could try some of them. Also, it was only one- hundred and fifty pages long, so it was pretty short compared to books I usually read. Now that I have talked about the strong points, let¿s talk about the weak. The book is very low in action, which makes the book less interesting. It is also about a girl who goes to a restaurant and gets everything on a waffle, so that is kind of weird. Finally, it switched characters a lot, and didn¿t tell you who was speaking, so sometimes you had to guess you was speaking. I guess there is one more thing I forgot to mention, which is that it is not part of a series, so you can read it at any time. I didn¿t think this book was that good, but that doesn¿t mean you won¿t like it, so if it sounds interesting, and you are 12-15 years of age give it a try. .

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2008

    terrible!

    this book is so annoyingly boring! if there was a selection for no star, i would give it that. seriously, this book is slow-paced and has no excitement. i would never spend money on it at all. and whats up with all those stupid recipes? since when did this become a cookbook?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 30, 2007

    Everything on a Waffle

    Everything on a Waffle is about a girl who's parents got lost at sea. Everyone in town is telling her that her parents died, but she has a very strong feeling that they are still alive. Along the way she gets tossed from house to house. Some of these places include her uncles house, and two people that adopted her. Meanwhile, she meets a lady that owns a waffle store called 'The Girl on the Red Swing' who teaches her all about cooking because Primrose decides to make a cookbook. This lady becomes almost a mom to Primrose. This book is really good. I would recommend this book to anyone in 4th-8th grade. The word choice is astonishing, and the author even sneaks a few laughs in along the way.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 4, 2007

    A reviewer

    Everything on a Waffle By: Polly Horvath Primrose is a girl who lives in a town with her mom and dad by the sea. She has a mom and a dad. Her dad is out at sea and does not come back for a while. So her mom goes out to look for him. Her mom doesn¿t come back either and lives with this lady, but ends up with her Uncle Jack. The story takes place in a town named Coal Houber that is really quiet. Not much goes on. The story is about a girl and how her life goes. Her parents go out to sea and get lost. They don¿t come back for a long time. I liked the story because at the end it talked about waffles and everything was on a waffle. I didn¿t really connect to the story. There were no other books I read like that.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 11, 2007

    A Lonely Little Girl

    Everything On a Waffle was about a girl whose parents were lost at sea. It all started one stormy day when her father was out at sea and her mom went out to get him. They didn¿t return, so the town put Primrose with an old girl named Mrs. Perfidy. She was over one hundred years old! They eventually found her uncle Jack. Jack helped sell houses for his job. Primrose still believes her parents are alive out at sea some where, but everyone makes fun of her for believing that and calls her crazy. Every day Primrose goes down to the harbor and waits for her parents to come home. One day many months later Primrose, Jack, Mrs. Perfidy, and Mrs. Honeycutt were down on the beach in the harbor when a cruise boat came towards the shore. This was weird because cruise boats usually don¿t come around there. The book was alright, but not that great because it just told what a little girl did every day. It had little action and was very boring. I don¿t find it exciting, but other people might. This book was not part of a series. This book is not like much T.V. shows or any other books I have read. A girl may enjoy this book more than a guy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 17, 2006

    Paige Piekenbrocks(Peekinbrocks)reveiw

    Everything on a waffle is about a girl named Primrose whoes parents get lost at see during a storm. Primrosed beleived her parents weren't dead, but Mrs Perffdy thaught she was rediculious. Mrs.Perfidy was Primrose's...,well I should say the person who took care of Primrose. The Guidence taecher Mrs. honeycutt thaught Primrose needed someone else for her care so,she turned Primrose over to Uncle Jack. Primrose would always like to visit the restraunt called The Girl on The Red Swing. At that restraunt they would serve anything the person oders on a waffle. Mrs. Bowser owned the restraunt and always enjoyed showing Primrose how to cook. One night there was a boat coming back to dock. Nobody could imagine boats out at this time,but when Primrose got a closer look she noticed it was her parents.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 20, 2006

    HELP

    I need someone to tell me the conflict in this book PLZ

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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