One year after the events of Newbery Honor–winning Everything on a Waffle (2001), Primrose Squarp returns, no longer orphaned but just as determined to make everything turn out right.
Her parents back from their yearlong loss at sea, Primrose has turned her attentions to her real-estate–developer uncle Jack and the possibly burgeoning romance between him and restaurateur Miss Bowzer. She's also concerned about her former foster parents' new foster child, Ked, who becomes her first real peer-group friend and whom she badly wants Evie and Bert to adopt for good, for all their sakes. Further unsettling her is the threatened logging of the old-growth forest just outside of town. When Primrose isn't plotting, she and Ked desultorily work on a cookbook (working title: Just Throw Some Melted Butter on It and Call It a Day), recipes for which end each chapter. While this title lacks the single-minded focus of Primrose's earlier (mis)adventure, it has heaping helpings of Horvathian wit (Primrose practices dilating her pupils; "It makes you look innocent and doe-eyed," she explains) and wisdom ("Maybe we live in a universe where all you have control over is your own kindness," suggests Uncle Jack).
Ever respectful of the capacity of her audience to comprehend the big words and concepts she deals in, the author delivers a gothic tragicomedy that is both a worthy sequel and as able as Primrose to stand on its own. (Fiction. 9-12)