Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Everything on a Waffle

Everything on a Waffle

Polly Horvath
Fiction
For ages 9 to 12
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2001   ISBN: 978-0374322366

When Primrose Squarp is eleven, a typhoon strikes off the coast of British Columbia, near the port town where she lives. Her father, a fisherman, is out in the storm, and her mother decides to go out to look for him. The people in Coal Harbour think that Primrose’s mother is crazy and when neither she nor her husband returns, they quickly decide that the couple have drowned. Primrose doesn’t give up hope though. Instead, she waits and waits for her parents to come home to her.

Waiting is not easy though. Primrose is teased by the other kids at school who think that she should get on with her life. In addition, since her parents made no will or provisions for their daughter, Primrose is shuffled from caregiver to caregiver. At first she lives with her babysitter, but then her uncle is contacted and he moves to Cold Harbour, Primrose goes to live with Uncle Jack, whom she grows fond of even though he is not the best of parent substitutes. Then Primrose ends up with some kindly poster parents.

For some reason, Primrose seems to be prone to having strange accidents. She has a close encounter with a truck, and loses one of her pinky toes. Then she has another accident and loses the tip of her left ring finger. The only times when her life seems somewhat normal are the hours that she spends at The Girl on the Red Swing, a local restaurant where the chef, Miss Bowzer, puts everything she makes on waffles. Miss Bowzer is gruff and intractable, but she lets Primrose be, which is just what the girl needs.

This book could so easily be depressing, but thanks to the author’s decidedly quirky sense of humor it is a joy to read. A message of hope runs throughout the story, and even though Primrose’s life is full of disasters, we find ourselves sharing her faith that everything will work out in the end.

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