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EVERYTHING ON A WAFFLE by Polly Horvath

EVERYTHING ON A WAFFLE

By Polly Horvath

Age Range: 11 - 15

Pub Date: April 4th, 2001
ISBN: 0-374-32236-8
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Life dishes up the sweet with the sour following the disappearance of a child's parents in this perceptive, barbed tale from the author of The Trolls (1999). Horvath displays a real knack for naming. Everyone else in her small British Columbian fishing town is sure that her mother and father are lost at sea, but 11-year-old Primrose Squarp clings to hope as months pass. She too is passed: from the minimal care of gruff old Miss Perfidy, to a previously unknown uncle who turns out to be an enterprising real-estate developer, and then, thanks to a small-minded school counselor, to out-of-town foster parents. Along the way, she loses a pair of minor body parts in accidents, but gains loyal friends both in Uncle Jack and in Kate Bowzer, proprietor of a café called The Girl on the Red Swing, in which everything, including salad, is served on a waffle. Food not only plays a recurrent theme here, but each chapter ends with a recipe (of varying palatability). The author engages in some clever role reversal with Uncle Jack, a happy-go-lucky sort with a streak of fierce loyalty who is unperturbed when his housing development goes up in flames, but fights tooth and nail to regain custody of Primrose. He never once expresses doubt that her parents are alive—as indeed they turn out to be. Primrose is a serious, sturdy soul, able to hold her own against this quirky, nearly all-adult supporting cast, and by the time her shipwrecked mother and father are rescued, she has gained considerable insight into human nature—as well as the ability to create dishes as diverse as Cherry Pie Pork Chops and Butterscotch Chow Mein Noodle Cookies. And waffles, of course. That she was right all along about her parents will make her story extra sweet to readers. (Fiction. 11-15)