Everything on a Waffle by Polly Horvath


Horvath, Polly. Everything on a Waffle.  Farrar Strauss Giroux, 2001.  $16.00, 150 pages.

Link to Author’s Website: http://www.pollyhorvath.com/

Links to Interviews with Author:

Links to Reviews Available Online:

Reader’s Annotation: Can Primrose survive being passed around like a hot potato between a motley crew of caretakers?


Primrose Squarp’s parents disappeared during a typhoon, but she refuses to believe that they are dead.  She remains eternally optimistic about that fact while staying with her moth ball scented elderly neighbor, who is probably going senile.  When her Uncle Jack is located, he does not particularly want custody of a little girl, as she would get in the way of his real estate development.  Primrose finds a friend in Miss Bowzer, the owner and cook of The Girl on the Red Swing cafe where everything is served on a waffle.  Miss Bowzer teaches Primrose to cook while listening to her and not judging her, unlike the other residents of the town.  Primrose is eventually placed with foster parents after a series of accidents where she loses her pinky toe, the tip of her finger, and the class guinea pig being set on fire.  Will Primrose continue to stay optimistic in the face of all these challenges?


The characters of this novel made for it to a strange read.  For a children’s book to feature so few children, also made it unusual to me.  The plot was not very believable, and the quirkiness of the characters added to it further.  The characters, were, however well-characterized.  From the physical details to their odd personalities, each character was clearly drawn and vivid to the reader’s imagination.  These characters allow Primrose and Horvath to show various sides of human nature.  The structure of the novel was interspersed with recipes.  These recipes also added to the story, as they reflected some aspect of the chapter that preceded the recipe.  The recipes further characterized Primrose, strengthened her voice, and served as a tie to her parents (her mother had initially started saving recipes).  Primrose’s growth as a person, finding her place when her place is momentarily out of order while her parents are gone, and better understanding of people who surround her, make Primrose an admirable character in a quirky tale.

Rating Scale:

  • Popularity: 2
  • Quality: 3

Genre and Subgenre: realistic fiction

Appeal Factors: humor, quirky characters, recipes

Readalike Titles or Authors:

  • Molly Moon’s Incredible Book of Hypnotism by Georgia Byng
  • The Thief Lord by Cornelia Caroline Funke

Awards Won and Book Lists:

  • Newbery Honor
  • National Book Award Finalist

Booktalking Ideas:

  • The day Primrose’s parents disappeared
  • Learning to cook with Miss Bowzer
  • Primrose almost drowning

Book Discussion Questions or Ideas:

  • How does Primrose stay positive when all the adults around her do not believe her parents are alive?
  • What is Horvath saying about believing things with absolute conviction like Primrose does?
  • Are the recipes at the end of each chapter intended to be actually made?  Why are they there?

Why I Chose This:

I chose this novel because the title intrigued me.  I do enjoy waffles, and was wondering what was everything that would be served on a waffle.