Title: Adventures With Waffles
Author: Maria Parr
Major Themes: Norway, Friends, Family Read-Alouds, 1950-2000 History, Europe, Books for Boys, Books for Girls
Synopsis: Trille and Lena are next-door neighbors and best friends; what kind of trouble do they not get into?
Some books would never merit a second glance from me if they weren’t recommended by our school curriculum. Adventures With Waffles is one of those. The cover is nothing I would ever look at twice, and the title doesn’t really catch my attention—but we really enjoyed it when we read it!And for the record, waffles don’t play a very large part in the story.
Soon after I started reading this book aloud, we figured out why my 16-year-old had been heard laughing so hard as he read the book to himself when it first arrived in our house. It is funny! The opening scene involves Lena trying to walk a rope strung between her house and Trille’s house (Trille is the narrator). Of course, she slips, and Trille’s solution, while ingenious, is not exactly what his parents would approve of. The rest of the book goes on in the same vein, with Lena coming up with ideas, and Trille helping her. He can’t stop wondering, though, whether Lena likes him as well as he likes her.
One of Lena’s problems is that she doesn’t have a father. First, she wonders what good a father is. (Trille’s answer is hilarious!) Then, she decides that she needs one, and requests a father for her birthday. Of course, her mother does not plan to give her one—but you’ll have to read the book to find out what happens. There are other very funny things, too, like the manure spreader that was used to put out the Midsummer bonfire (why did it need put out? Ask Trille and Lena!) and the day they loaded animals onto Uncle Tor’s shark boat. Along the way, we got a little glimpse into Norwegian country life.
I’m not quite sure what the real value of Adventures With Waffles is. It’s fun, and it’s funny. It demonstrates friendship, and explores love. It shows the beauty of multiple generations living together and how Grandpa was a part of the children’s lives. And maybe it will help my children to think ahead about what they are doing! As we read, we could often see consequences coming before Trille and Lena did. I guess the bottom line is that it is a good book to read together as a family, just for another shared experience with books.
WARNING: Chapter 4: what the heck. Chapter 8: gosh. Chapter 17: it’s all right to tell white lies
Listening Level—Ages 5 – 8, 8 – 12, 10 – 12, Family Friendly
Reading Independently—Ages 8 – 12