Everything on a Waffle

by Polly Horvath

Hardcover, 2002



Local notes

Fic Hor





Scholastic (2002), Edition: First Thus, 150 pages


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.


Boston Globe–Horn Book Award (Honor — Fiction & Poetry — 2001)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Nominee — Grades 3-5 — 2004)
William Allen White Children's Book Award (Nominee — Grades 3-5 — 2003-2004)
Newbery Medal (Honor Book — 2002)
Nēnē Award (Nominee — 2003, 2004)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 2005)
BC and Yukon Book Prizes (Winner — Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize — 2002)
Rocky Mountain Book Award (Nominee — 2003)


Original publication date


Physical description

150 p.; 8.3 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member bibliophile26
A kiddie lit book that I read as a coach for "Battle of the Books." The main character loses her parents to a storm on the sea, but insists they are still alive. She lives in a variety of foster homes, until her uncle comes to town and takes her in. This book was a Newbery runner-up. My strongest
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impression of the book was that some of the things they ate on a waffle were quite disgusting.
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LibraryThing member mybookshelf
Primrose’s parents are missing at sea. Everyone else is sure they’ve drowned, but Primrose knows they’re alive and together and coming back. In the mean time, someone has to look after Primrose. This role is filled by various colourful characters: old Miss Perfidy, who has trouble with her
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memory; Primrose’s Uncle Jack, the developer; Bert and Evie, who foster her; and Miss Bowzer, proprietor of the local café, where whatever you order comes served on a waffle.

The thing that makes this book different from any other I have read for young people is Primrose’s preoccupation with food and recipes. Lots of kids’ books feature descriptions of meals and/or food; Everything on a Waffle features a recipe at the end of each chapter, for something mentioned during the course of the chapter. Dishes presented are as diverse as ‘Ming Dynasty Tuna Casserole’, ‘Pear Soup’, and ‘Aunt Tilly’s Lemon Sugar Cookies’. Primrose records these recipes as they come up, on her mother’s memo pad, which seems to be the only tangible reminder of her parents’ existence she has left.

This is a story about characters. Coal Harbour is full of them: people who are out-of-the ordinary in some way. Primrose is a character herself, of course, but she is also the narrator of the story, so the reader interprets all the other characters from Primrose’s perspective. Interestingly then, Primrose’s parents feature in the story only by their absence from her life; the reader learns almost nothing about what kind of people they may be.

Throughout the story, Primrose is on a quest. Not, as might be expected, to find her parents; but instead to find reassurance that she isn’t crazy to believe in her parents’ survival. She asks many people the same question: “Didn’t you ever believe anything just because you knew it was true?” In response she is told many interesting stories, and occasionally meets someone who has no idea what the question even means. In the story’s satisfying conclusion, Primrose comments, “I left parts of myself some places and found others unexpectedly” – she discovers her own personality.

Primrose suffers from another affliction common to many young people: adults who have the best intentions for her. It doesn’t help that there are so many adults vying for the position of primary caregiver in Primrose’s life, each one of them with a different idea about what would be best for Primrose. These range from “special care” to “ways of dealing with these issues”, but the only effect that any of this seems to have on Primrose herself is that she is suddenly expected to look after the class pet guinea pig, Herman, at the weekends.

This book is funny and original, and I consider this alone to be sufficient provocation to recommend it widely. However, I also can’t resist, by way of recommendation, giving the following example of this author’s amazing craft: “…and she looked at Miss Perfidy as if a tuna fish had just died on her foot”. Visualise that, if you will (then read the story for more)!
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LibraryThing member jmeggan
The little girl in the book has great hope and it makes me want to have to hope that she has when I read it.
LibraryThing member RoseMarion
This is the story of young 11 year old Primrose Squarp. She is an orphan because her parents have been lost at sea. However, she believes that they will return shortly in spite of those around her telling her otherwise. Primrose is taken under the care of her Uncle Jack who wants to help "develop"
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their town, Coal Harbour. Uncle Jack means well, but he is always very busy. Thus, Primrose is still often left to her own devices. She makes a great friend in Kate Bowzer, the owner of the restaurant "The Girl on the Red Swing" where every single food item is served on a waffle. Still she has to deal with mean schoolchildren, stuffy babysitter Miss Perfidy, and the snobbish school guidance counselor Miss Honeycut. However, through it all Primrose remains optimstic.

The book is sarcastic and has funny moments. Still, I found it to be too eccentric and a little odd. It wasn't my favorite, but may be a good read a loud for 4th, 5th, and 6th graders. I did listen to the book so perhaps I would have had a different opinion if I had read it with my own eyes.
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LibraryThing member francescadefreitas
Primrose Squarp is 11, and her parents are missing. Not dead, as everyone in her small town thinks, but missing, lost at sea. As she bounces from town babysitter to huckster uncle, losing digits along the way, Primrose takes refuge in a restaurant where everything, even the steak, is served on a
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waffle. This is hilarious, a collection of the most improbable characters, a picture of small town BC life, and a realistic story of a girl refusing to give up hope.
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LibraryThing member anniecase
This book was a charming, welcome surprise! I thoroughly enjoyed the humor, the recipes and the array of quirky characters. It provides lots to think about and never outstays its welcome. I would highly recommend this book to parents and kids.
LibraryThing member debnance
Based on my previous experience with a Polly Horvath novel, I’d anticipated that this book would be a funny book. Not so, at least not in an uproariously hilarious way. Primrose finds that her parents have been lost at sea, but she never doubts they will return. In the meantime, she is sent to
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live with a bachelor uncle who wants to transform her town into an economic boom town. The parents do in fact return, against all odds, but most of the other loose ends just seem to drift off. Newbery Honor.
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LibraryThing member pumabeth
Imaginative details but thinly supported by a skeletal plot.
Most of the story seems to hold its breath waiting to see if Primrose's parents will truly come home to her or if in fact, they are actually dead. Some conflict exists between the characters who would like to convince her that they are
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dead and who would like to take her away from her Uncle. Some of the town appears to be jealous that her mother loved her father enough to row away in a small boat in an effort to rescue his fishing boat in a storm. While there's great satisfaction in their safe return at the end of the story or some of the delightful recipes or interesting characters along the way, the story never really comes alive.
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LibraryThing member jeemra
This is a very fun book, incorporating both fantasy and reality into one exciting story. It emphasizes originality and uniqueness in an unusual but wonderful way. Additionally, the recipes are fun to read and, from what I've heard, tasty as well. This would be a nice book to read at home followed
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by cooking some of the recipes.
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LibraryThing member stuwilab
Discussion or writing prompts: Primrose had a number and a variety of adults influencing her life. Which was your favorite and why?

Have students design their own meal "on a waffle". What would they want on it and why?

What do the words "primrose" and "perfidy" mean? Why do you think the author chose
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these words as the characters' names?

Write a paragraph about yourself, like Primrose's description, and use similes.
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LibraryThing member jasminemarie
Polly Horvath has a way of making what could have been a really sad story into a very light, touching story about a girl who never gives up hope that her parents (who are lost at sea) are still alive. She has to live with her Uncle who is a reluctant caretaker and an awful one at that. A series of
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accidents happen to her that seem ridiculous at times considering what she has already gone through. I love that each chapter ends with a recipe that connects to something that happened in that chapter. This is definitely one of my favorite books to share each year with my reading groups.
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LibraryThing member ShopALot
Everything on a Waffle is such a cute book for children. This book is about a a young girl named Primrose. She lives with her uncle because her parents died at see. He doesnt have much time for her so she finds comfort in Kate Bowzer who owns a restaurant called The Girl on the Red Swing,
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everything comes on a waffle. This is a place where Primrose can get lots of attention and just be a kid. This is a very funny book.

An extension to this book would be to use playdough and cookie cutters. Make the waffles and them make differnt things to pile them high with. You could also have a discussion on how to deal with the emotions of not having a family.
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LibraryThing member chinquapin
Eleven year old Primrose Squarp refuses to attend the memorial service for her parents after they disappear at sea. She is convinced that they are still alive and asks everyone who tries to convince her otherwise, "Haven't you ever just known something deep in your heart without reason?" She is
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sent first to live with an elderly neighbor who had occasionally babysat her, and then to live with Uncle Jack. Primrose is left without much supervision and she seems to be rather adept at attracting trouble. Because of a series of unfortunate accidents, a local busybody gets her sent to live in a foster home.

THis was a cute book with a fun, interesting main character and storyline, but it was not what I expected. I thought there was going to be a lot more of the waffle restaurant. Nevertheless, it was enjoyable. Primrose is very much into food and there is a recipe at the end of every chapter written in her inimitable, eleven year old style. It was different in that this book is about Primrose and her relationships with adults, all the other meaningful characters, both good and bad, are adults.
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LibraryThing member Lulu2010
Everything on a Waffle was a good feeling book. It has a constant positive attitude that looks like the worst of situations. The book is about a little girl named Primrose who's parents were washed away at sea during a storm. Everyone in the town said they were dead, but Primrose never believed
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that. She said she knew they were alive. Her uncle had to come take care of her, and when he would not pay the guidance counselor of the school a bit of attention she turn him into child services. Primrose was sent to live with foster parents that after hearing her story moved back with her to her home town. Primrose loved to learn how to cook and their was a restraunt named the girl on the red swing, and the lady that owned it would teach her new recipes everyday. But everything that you received at this restraunt was served on a waffle (hence the namce on the story) no matter what the food was. Even going through all this Primrose has the most positive attitude, and is eventually reunited with her parents. I really liked this story, and it just goes to show it could always be worse but try to find the bright side!
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LibraryThing member SHeineke
clever characters and dialogue keep the story fresh, warm, and engaging. Primrose Sharp knows her parents have not been lost ata sea, but no one else shares this view and she is treated as an orphan. Her comfort is found in the restaurant called, The Girl on the Red Swing, where everything is
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served on a waffle. The story also gives readers a glimpse of life in a northeastern whaling community.
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LibraryThing member KaydeeParrish
Primrose is a young child who stays to herself. One day, her mom goes out into a storm to search for Primrose's father. Neither of them return. The town throws a service for her parents because they all say her parents died at sea. Primrose refuses to believe this and just knows in her
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heart that they aren't dead and they will return. She stays with her babysitter while the town decides what is best for Primrose. Her uncle ends up watching her but he is so busy trying to reconstruct Coal Harbour that he hardly has anytime for Primrose. She spends most of her time Girl on the Red Swing with Miss Bowzer where she can order anything on a waffle. The town finds Primrose's uncle unqualified to watch Primrose so they stick her with a foster family. While all of this is going on, Primrose still tries to convince everyone that her parents are still alive and she continues to go to the beach and wait for them to return. At the end of the story, her parents finally return. They all went out to dinner that night at Girl on the Red Swing where they all could get waffles with anything and everything they could ever want on a waffle.

Personal Reaction:
I absolutely loved this book! Primrose never loses hope of finding her parents. I wish I was more optimistic like Primrose. No matter how many people told her they were gone, she never gave up waiting for them. I also love how the story involves waffles!

Classroom Extensions:
1. After each chapter, their are recipes from the food in the book.. It would be fun to make one of the recipes with the class.
2. It's also a great book to teach students to never give up no matter how many people doubt them. If they believe they can do it, then they can.
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LibraryThing member ymelodie
Wonderful story about a girl trying to find herself and where she belongs. This is a feel good book when it is done. Wonderful characters and great theme: Never give up!
LibraryThing member mg09
This book is about a girl who's parents had past away during a storm on their boat, now she has to stay with her uncle and get through her parent's death.
LibraryThing member FranCaroll
Primrose will not believe that her parents perished at sea in a terrible storm, even though everyone else in the town thinks so. She lives with a babysitter for awhile, and then with her Uncle Jack. This book is based on the premise that a child will act perfectly normal while in denial, if not of
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parental death but minimally of the possibility of it. A strange book.
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LibraryThing member myevzlin
This book is about a girl named Primrose. Her parents went out to sea and didn't return. Primrose had to live with many different families. She had lots of terrible incidents living with her uncle Jack. I liked this book because Primrose had to live a hard life but when people told her that her
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parents were not coming back she never believed them. She always kept believing they would return. I recommend this book to people who never give up.
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LibraryThing member JenJ.
Primrose Scuarp is a dreamy redhead from the small Candian town of Coal Harbor whose parents have been lost at sea. Well that's what Primrose believes, even though everyone else in her small town insists that they died in the terrible storm. Soon Primrose is being shifted from the care of Miss
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Perfidy, an elderly neighbor with a tricky memory, to her Uncle Jack, the only person who doesn't try to convince her that her parents are really dead. The school social worker, Miss Honeycut is a nightmare who can't stop telling anecdotes and Primrose's fellow students are less than sympathetic to her plight. All Primrose wants to do is wait in peace for her parents to return, but people insist on "helping" her work through her grief - if they can only help her to feel it. Through it all, Primrose finds comfort at "The Girl on the Red Swing," a restaurant owned by Miss Bowzer where every kind of meal is served, but they all come on waffles.

I can only assume that Primrose's red hair and eccentric way of looking at life are Horvath's homage to Anne of Green Gables, but the comparison definitely works.

Listened to the Listening Library CD edition narrated by Kathleen McInerney. McInerney conveys the humor of the book and differentiates the character voices so that it's always clear who's speaking although the changes are not distracting.

Previously read.
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LibraryThing member adams.b1
Everything on a waffle:A girl named sally who believes that her parents are lost at sea.But everybody else thinks they are dead.So she has to live with her uncle who believes that tourists should come and visit coal harbor. But he is too busy so she hangs out with Miss Beatrix the owner of the only
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restaurant in town that makes dinner lunch and breakfast...on a waffle! The antagonist of this story is the notorious school guidance counselor miss Honeycut who wants sally to go to a boarding school instead of living with her uncle.Soon believes that her parents are really dead.But then they wash up on shore and they tell their tale about how they lived on an island for a month!

Opinion paragraph:I think it deserved this rating because it is very touching but it is not " WOW! I think it was like this is a good book.I also liked this book because this girl has faith that her parents will come back. Sally also learns the goodness in peoples hearts.And miss honeycut has no goodness whatsoever! I also like how Sally has confidence in what she believes that her parents will always come back.It also teaches you that you should also have confidence.Also you should have faith!
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LibraryThing member paakre
Melancholy story of a girl whose parents are lost at sea. She becomes friends with a restaurant owner who serves everything on a waffle. One of the great charms of the book is its recipes. The cinnamon buns are very good.
LibraryThing member auntieknickers
Had I been on the awards committee, I might well have voted for this book rather than for the actual medalist, A Single Shard. I certainly enjoyed reading it. Could it be that the heroine's Dickensian name (Primrose Squarp) took a few points off? And then, the Newbery Medals are for American books
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-- and although presumably Polly Horvath is a citizen or permanent resident of the US, she set her book in British Columbia. And the book is SO DARN CANADIAN -- which is a big part of its charm. Oh, it starts out like any other "problem book" for kids, with Primrose's parents lost at sea and her fate in the hands of the town council. But almost immediately funny things start happening, and Primrose never loses hope, and you realize this is not going to be another problem story. The setting, a fishing village in BC, is filled with characters who would be right at home in Cicely, Alaska. The only villain in the piece is, of course, a British aristocrat. All's well that ends well, and it's a fun way to spend a few hours. Kids can even try some of the recipes that end each chapter. Highly recommended.
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LibraryThing member tzarate
Everything on a Waffle is a story about a girl who's parents get lost at sea. She meets and becomes friends with a restaurant owner who serves everything on a waffle.

Other editions




½ (248 ratings; 3.8)
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