Logo Title Quebec Reading Connection

Everything on a Waffle

Horvath, Polly (Author)
Macmillan 2008. 184 pages
First published: 2001
ISBN: 9780888994424 (paperback)
Original language: English
Book type: Novel
Book genre: Realistic

Text Elements:

character, setting

Awards

Mr. Christie’s Book Award – 2001
Boston Globe-Horn Honor Book – 2001
Newbery Honor Book – 2002

Reading Range

 
Cycle
Elementary
Secondary
 
1
2
3
1
2
ELA
K
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL
1
2
3
4
5
6
1
2
3
4
5
ESL Intensive & Enriched
5
6
1
2
3
4
5

Description:

Primrose Squarp is an 11-year-old girl with “hair the colour of carrots in an apricot glaze (recipe to follow).” When her parents are lost at sea in a typhoon, she is passed from one unsuitable guardian to another. Primrose refuses to grieve, as she has a deep-down belief that her parents are still alive. She finds refuge in cooking and conversation with Miss Bowzer at The Girl on the Red Swing café.

Told with Primrose’s sharp wit, her narration is funny and direct. Biting commentary on the adult world is undercutting and observant: “Miss Honeycut was the closest thing Coal Harbour had to a psychiatrist, which wasn’t really very close at all.” Occasionally the voice slips into the poetic and even the philosophical, “I do not live anywhere anymore, I said to myself on one of my walks down to the pier to wait for my parents, I am not in the body of life.”

Themes of hope in the face of tragedy, belief in more than the visible, and the mystifying world of adults are explored with humour and grace. The tone of the book is almost that of a tall tale, and yet, through the impossible, rambling storytelling, readers get close to the human heart. As Primrose puts it: “You can be sunk low as a skunk and still have a joy in your heart.”

Appealing characters and the charms of a small town setting lighten the difficult subject matter. Recipes are placed at the end of each chapter, relayed in Primrose’s voice, to provide lovely ballast to her world.

  •  

    Before reading, examine the book’s cover and title. With a partner, make and record predictions about the story. Review the predictions as you read.

  •  

    Choose a character who plays a role in Primrose’s life after her parents disappear (Uncle Jack, Miss Honeycutt or Miss Bowzer). Create a visual representation to illustrate what that character is like inside and out. Present your work in a small group and explain how Primrose’s life would have been different without that character’s influence.

  •  

    Primrose asks, “Haven’t you ever just known something deep in your heart without reason?” How would you answer that question? Do you think Primrose was in denial? Discuss your answers in small groups and record your thoughts in a reader-writer’s notebook.

  •  

    Locate Coal Harbour, B.C., on a map. Make predictions about the story based on the book cover. As you read, revise your predictions.

  •  

    Draw a map of the village. Include the inhabitants and buildings. Add the names of places that you discover as the story unfolds.

  •  

    Primrose has many people caring for her when her parents disappear. Create a mind map to show what she gains or loses from these people.

  •  

    Describe how Primrose’s village changes as it goes from being a village to a more urban town.

  • To construct his/her identity
  • To solve problems
  • Citizenship and Community Life