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Everything on a Waffle (Coal Harbour #1)

3.69  ·  Rating Details  ·  8,042 Ratings  ·  687 Reviews
In the small Canadian town of Coal Harbour, in a quaint restaurant called The Girl on the Red Swing, everything comes on a waffle--lasagna, fish, you name it. Even waffles! Eleven-year-old Primrose Squarp loves this homey place, especially its owner, Kate Bowzer, who takes her under her wing, teaches her how to cook, and doesn t patronize or chastise her, even when she put ...more
Paperback, 160 pages
Published September 8th 2004 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) (first published April 1st 2001)
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Charlotte's Web by E.B. WhiteElla Enchanted by Gail Carson LevineBecause of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamilloHatchet by Gary PaulsenPrincess Academy by Shannon Hale
Newbery Medal Honor Books
56th out of 314 books — 328 voters
Which Witch? by Eva IbbotsonWalden by Michael T. DolanPeter and the Starcatchers by Dave BarryEverything on a Waffle by Polly HorvathPeter by Christopher Daniel Mechling
book club books!
4th out of 15 books — 20 voters

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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I didn't expect to like this book, but I did, very much. What kept me reading was the main character, Primrose, who seemed separate from, in her youthful perspective, and yet a part of, the crazy/interesting people and events around her. And the idea of serving food on a waffle had a kind of appeal to me. Made me want to try it...
Mar 11, 2010 Kathryn rated it really liked it
I loved this sweet little gem of a book! It is so surprisingly wise and inspiring and humorous. It really touched me and I'd give it five stars except that I don't think I would have liked it much when I was a kid and kids are, after all, the target audience for this book. I don't mean this in any sort of demeaning way to kids--I think they are incredibly wise and perceptive, sometimes in ways grown-up never can be again--but I think that so many of the observations about people and how and why ...more
Jul 19, 2013 Patti rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I can hardly believe that the Newbery Honor was awarded to “Everything on a Waffle”. Cute cover, interesting title, but one of the most boring books I have ever read. There are so many superb Honor books, but this one doesn’t even come close to other winners such as: “Because of Winn Dixie”, “The Wednesday Wars”, “A Long Way from Chicago”, to name of few.

The plot is flat line and the humor is non-existent. The characters were just blah. Two things that bothered me: the cook smoking a cigarette w
May 03, 2009 Josiah rated it liked it
"At heart, we're all violent raging wolves, but in our actions we can be pacifists."

—Primrose Squarp, "Everything on a Waffle", P. 16

"Sometimes you get tempted to make something wonderful even better but in doing so you lose what was so wonderful to begin with."

—Primrose Squarp, P. 36

"Everything on a Waffle" was not exactly how I expected it to be, but it is an excellent novel that is built around a solid, empathetic heart and soul of gentle wisdom. Polly Horvath's quietly sage reasonings
I've been seeing this book in classroom libraries for years. I have to say, I enjoyed it. Maybe it was a little sweet for my taste, but still good. I thought the recipes were really cleverly incorporated, and I wanted to try them all.

The story was good, and I was engaged the whole time. I just thought it wrapped up a little *too* neatly at the end. Plus, I wanted the Girl on the Red Swing lady to get together with Uncle Jack!

Overall it was a light, fluffy read, a bit unrealistically happy but
Oct 20, 2014 Michelle rated it it was ok
I read this with my 9-yr old daughter for her Girl Scouts Book Club. I'm glad I read it with her b/c I felt like while the story was good and well-written (and deserving a 3) I had to take off points b/c I did not feel like was appropriate for a 4th grader. While the story is told by a child of about the same age (11), I feel like the writing is way over a 9yr old's head. There are many points where the author changes from the present to the past and the transitions are hard for a kid to follow. ...more
Huh, another book about a girl who moves to a village of mentally distressed people. I didn't think this was such a common sort of event, but I'm sure I just don't notice these things when I'm so busy with paint business. (It all happened behind my back as usual). Someone needs to do something about all these people getting lost at sea too, for the record! It's awfully tragic if little girls commonly have to go around without families because they're shipwrecked somewhere or lost in the water. S ...more
Jul 05, 2012 Heidi rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Originally reviewed here.

I believe that when most people read the phrase “emotional comfort food read” their minds will immediately turn to the Chicken Soup for the Soul line of books that were so popular more than a decade ago. And yet, Polly Horvath’s Everything on a Waffle is exactly the type of book that fits under the emotional comfort food read heading. To me, there is no better way to describe the deep-seated warmth that filled my insides as I consumed this book. Bunbury readers know that
Dec 23, 2009 Sue rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
May 12, 2012 ALPHAreader rated it liked it
Primrose Squarp is busy believing in the unbelievable.

Primrose’s mother and father are lost at sea – and Primrose has been living with her babysitter, Miss Perfidy ever since the wild storm that (supposedly) carried them away. But then her Uncle Jack arrives in the town of Coal Harbour, to become Primrose’s guardian.

Uncle Jack leaves the navy to come and live with Primrose (and start a housing development in the picturesque town) – but Primrose expects the arrangement will only be a temporary
Mar 31, 2012 Gale rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Everyone who loves a great story
Don't skip this book because it is written in the voice of an 11-year-old.
This books is narrated by Primrose Squarp, who goes to live in a small fishing village on the seacoast with a quirky and miserly relative after her parents were lost at sea. Every chapter ends in some sort of recipe, which is skillfully woven into the story.
Owing much to Charles Dickens and Charlotte Bronte (two of my particularly favorite authors, so it is no wonder that I love her work), Polly Horvath is a masterful st
Oct 09, 2014 Liz rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This audiobook was great for our trip. The story was engaging and the short chapters helped when we needed to find a stopping point while checking out our directions. The only drawback was the recipes. We wanted to try them out but couldn't remember all of them or the steps. I will check out the book just so we can leisurely peruse through the recipes and test out several of them. With the beginning, I was expecting more Pippi Longstocking but Primrose wasn't Pippi. Thank goodness! I can read Pi ...more
Jul 01, 2008 Michael rated it it was amazing
You have got to love Polly Horvath. No, really, you do. Who else could pull off a novel such as this one, in which all the ingredients for a grim tragedy (parental deaths! maimings of innocents! homes burning down! children being shunted off into foster care! people generally being mean to one another, as they are in life) are instead whipped up into something sustained, hilarious, and ultimately life-affirming? Nobody else, I'd wager.

And yet the story is not a farce. It occasionally veers close
Feb 04, 2009 Hailey rated it really liked it
Primrose is not your average little girl she has hope that one day her parents will come back some day. It all started when a storm came,her and her mother were at home and didnt expect anything much to happen during the storm but, soon started to worry because her dad had gone out a few days before on a fishing trip the storm went on and he still wasnt back yet so her mom went out to look for him the next day still niether of them were back,Primrose moved in with a famliy friend everyone in her ...more
Dec 01, 2014 Bjipson rated it really liked it
the set-up of this book would make you think it is dark and depressing, but it's actually pretty hilarious. Primroses's parents have gone to sea and not come back, but she doesn't believe that they are dead. As she makes her way in the world (that is to say, in her small Northwest town) she deals with the characters that are her friends and neighbors AND finds emotional refuge in the town's diner where they serve EVERYTHING ON A WAFFLE. A quick and enjoyable read -- pure fun!
Vikki VanSickle
This is an extremely clever, funny, and at times shocking novel from one of Canada's best writers, Polly Horvath. When Primrose's parents are lost at sea, she finds herself in the care of her lovable but clueless Uncle Jack, two befuddled dog-loving foster parents Bert and Evie, and the aloof but loyal Miss Bowzer, who runs a restaurant where everything is served on a waffle.

Horvath masterly balances humour and sadness, and creates a wonderful cast of characters that are impossible to forget.Her
Apr 28, 2016 Janiece rated it liked it
I read this with my 8 year-old daughter and we really liked it. For me, the audio version is great for a kids book because it helps me to have the different voices and shows the personalities better, but I make sure to do the print version as well. It was cute and I loved the optimism.
Jul 10, 2015 Zenki rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was able to acquire this book because it only cost 20 pesos at some book sale. And though it may be a children's book, I still enjoyed reading it. Being a spectator of Primrose's boldness, stubbornness, wit and clumsiness was quite entertaining. All in all, it was a great light read.
Feb 04, 2011 Aubrey rated it it was amazing
This is a Newberry honor book that is great for tweens plus. The story is tragic but is told with a very positive, "we can get through anything" lens. What I love most about it is the recipes at the end of each chapter. For example in Chapter 1 she says that she has hair the color of carrots in an apricot glaze and at the end of the chapter is a recipe for carrots in apricot glaze. I love using literature as the jumping off point for various other subjects. If you read this with your child not o ...more
Sep 23, 2015 Lulu rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Primrose Squarp is a girl who lives by the harbour. One day a terrible storm omes where she lives, her father was out in the sea and haven't came back. Her mother got worried and brang Primrose to her neighbours house Miss Perfidy and Primrose mom went out to seas to find her father.

After the storm her parents did not come back. Now she became an orphan and Primrose thinks that her parents didn't perish at the sea but thinks that her parents is going to get her. There's no great clamoring of pr
Apr 02, 2016 Lise rated it it was amazing
I LOVED this book. I love the young protagonist, full of hope and rationality. I loved the surrounding characters, and I loved the recipes. So fun! I will recommend this to many people.
Mar 29, 2016 Kate rated it really liked it
Recommended to Kate by: Glory
I loved this book! I loved how the story went and how it resolved.
Sadie Tucker
Primrose's parents have been lost at sea. The town councillors of Coal Harbour, BC do not know what to do with her but, after paying an elderly (and crotechety) babysitter to care for her, they manage to track down her uncle. Fortunately, he agrees to take her on and remain in town. Primrose is convinced against all odds that her parents are still alive and are simply stranded on an island somewhere, awaiting rescue. While waiting for their return, she builds relationships with several supportiv ...more
Car Mint
Oct 02, 2015 Car Mint rated it really liked it
Primrose Squarp ตองกลายเปนเดกกำพราอยางไมรูตัวเมือแมของเธอออกเรือไปตามพอในคืนทีฝนตกกระหนำและพายุรุนแรง เธอเลยถูกสงตอให Miss Perfidy เลียงดูแทน แตเรืองคาใชจายในการเลียงดูซึงทำใหมรดกหรือเงินทีพอกับแมของเธอเริมเหลือนอยลง ทางเทศบาลและผูดูแลเมืองจึงจัดหาผูเลียงดูใหมให Primrose คือลุง Jack ในขณะทีทุกคนลวนเชือวาพอและแมของเธอตายไปแลว แต Primrose เชือเหลลือเกินวาพอกับแมของเธอยังมีชีวิตอยู ผูคนในเมืองมองวาเปนเรืองทีไรสาระทีสุดทีแมของเธอยอมทิงลูกไวในบานในคืนนันเพือออกไปชวยสามี แต Miss Kate Bowzer เจาของราน ...more
Jul 16, 2015 Tarissa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A cutesy children's chapter book with plenty of charm (and maple syrup) to go around.

I picked up this book because I love waffles. I've never eaten anything truly interesting on top of a waffle, but eleven-year-old Primrose Squarp has. Her favorite local restaurant is The Girl on the Red Swing, where everything you order is served atop a waffle. I do think I would enjoy a restaurant like that, wouldn't you? It's a sort of homey, comfortable idea.

The second thing you should know about Primrose Sq
Jun 24, 2015 Leslie rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 09, 2015 Shelby rated it really liked it
This post is a requirement for Dr. Sykes' READ 3307 course at UMHB. Everything on a Waffle is an adventurous and heart warming tale of a young girl named Primrose Squarp. Primrose learns a lot about life, death, and what exactly makes life worth living in the first place. When her parents end up missing after a large storm she is moved from place to place, developing many new relationships along the way. She mentions many times throughout the book that she believes her parents are alive, simply ...more
Nov 26, 2014 Andrea rated it liked it
The story begins when Primrose’s parents disappear out in the Sea. Everyone tells her that they have died and will never come back, but in her heart she believes they are still alive. Initially she goes on to live with her next door neighbor, Miss Perfidy who seems to have problems remembering things. Eventually, she moves in with her Uncle Jack. Primrose has a school counselor, Miss Honeycut, but she seems to be too preoccupied in her own issues; Primrose finds her boring. Primrose starts to wo ...more
Fred Pollock
May 09, 2014 Fred Pollock rated it really liked it
Shelves: tweens, mighty-girls
Polly Horvath writes wonderful stories filled with quirky characters (in fact a whole town full of them) and preposterous events, but she always draws readers in and keeps them entertained. This is the story of Primrose Squarp. After a terrible storm, everyone in town has the believe that Primrose's parents have been lost at sea. Everyone but Primrose. While waiting hopefully for the return of her family, she takes comfort in a restaurant called "The Girl on the Red Swing" where EVERYTHING comes ...more
British Columbia Canada coastal fishing town setting.

Engaging juvenile fiction with cartoonish character names --Primrose Squarp, Miss Perfidy. Miss Honeycut, Quincehead, Miss Bowzer, and so forth -- which hint at the light/humorous tone taken for a somewhat serious situation (parents missing at sea having made no provisions for daughter Primrose).

EVERYTHING ON A WAFFLE is the first book of the Coal Harbour series with a most appealing main character -- Primrose.

The book's title refers to t
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Polly Horvath is the author of many books for young people, including Everything on a Waffle, The Pepins and Their Problems, The Canning Season and The Trolls. Her numerous awards include the Newbery Honor, the National Book Award for Young People's Literature, the Boston Globe-Horn Book Honor, the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children's Literature, the Mr. Christie Award, the international White Raven ...more
More about Polly Horvath...

Other Books in the Series

Coal Harbour (2 books)
  • One Year in Coal Harbor (Coal Harbour #2)

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“There's something about sports. You can be setting fire to cats and burying them in your backyard, but as long as you're playing team sports, people think you're okay.” 13 likes
“I want someone who puts the whole ball of wax at risk. I want the kind of marriage where we would follow each other out into the stormy fatal sea or I'm not marrying at all.” 13 likes
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