Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Adventures with Waffles Audio

Adventures with Waffles Audio

Maria Parr
For ages 8 to 10
Unabridged audiobook (MP3 CD)
Performed/read by: Luke Daniels
Candlewick on Brilliance Audio, 2015   ISBN: 978-1501216091

Trille lives on a farm overlooking a fjord in Norway. Trille’s grandfather lives in the same house, his beloved Auntie Granny (who makes the most delicious waffles) lives not far away, and his best friend Lena lives right next door. Lena is a singular person. She is a girl who never cries, who has a short fuse, and who comes up with the most remarkable ideas for adventures. Often these adventures backfire, and often someone – usually Lena herself – gets injured, but Trille and Lena keep on having their adventures all the same.

Summer has arrived, school is closed, and the Midsummer celebration is just around the corner. Lena, Trille, and members of Trille’s family are sitting around their kitchen table when Trille’s mother asks Lena and Trille if they are looking forward to being the Midsummer bride and groom again. Lena and Trille have been the Midsummer bride and groom many times and this year Lena puts her foot down. Lena suggests that instead of playing those roles, she and Trille will make a decoration to put on top of the traditional bonfire.

The children make a big sun to put on the bonfire and then Lena gets an idea. They will add a little something special to their decoration, which they do. It is only when the fire is alight that Lena decides that their secret addition might not be a good idea after all. The problem is that the fire is raging now. How are they going to put it out? Grandpa is the one who saves the day by dumping a load of manure on the bonfire, and on everything near the fire as well, covering everyone from Mathildewick Cove with the foul smelling stuff.

Many young people would, after an event like this, keep their heads down for a while, but it is not long before Trille and Lena are in trouble again. This time, inspired by the story of Noah and his ark, they decide to recreate Noah’s adventure by taking a bunch of animals on Uncle Tor’s fishing boat. The load some rabbits, a hen , a rooster, a goat, and a variety of small creatures on the vessel. Then Lena decides that they need to add a cow to their menagerie. At first all goes well. Uncle Tor’s heifer doesn’t make a fuss about being led away from the herd. However, when it is in the middle of the gangplank, all hell breaks loose. Needless to say, Uncle Tor is not happy when he sees what Lena and Trille have done.

Lena’s next project is to get herself a dad. She puts an advertisement up in the general store and hopes that someone who is nice and likes children will apply for the position. Not surprisingly, Lena’s plans go awry. Again.

Though Lena sometimes gives Trille a hard time, he still feels that she is his best friend. He does worry sometimes that perhaps he isn’t her best friend. Lena isn’t easy to read and she keeps her feelings to herself, which makes it hard for Trille to know what is going on inside her head and heart. Most of the time this does not bother him too much. Lena is Lena and he has to take her as she comes. Then bad things start to happen in Trille’s life and suddenly Trille doesn’t know where he stands at all, and Lena, the person he needs, is being distant.

This delightful story is a true celebration of friendship and family. There are moments when listeners will laugh out loud as Trille and Lena’s adventures get the better of them. Then there are those moments when we feel the confusion that Trille experiences when life becomes complicated and painful. Just like in true life, in this story joy is often followed by loss of some kind and, with the love of his family, Trille just has to muddle through as best he can.