Polly Horvath: Waffles, Cakes, and Orphans

Polly Horvath is one of those children/middle age authors who consistently writes popular books that are charming but thoughtful, too. If you’ve not read any of her publications, check out our favorites below:

Everything on a Waffle is an award winning gem of a book! If you love chapter books with a main character, Primrose, who manages tragic circumstances with joy, then this is your book. It does deal with lost of parents, but the book – in the end – affirms life through Primrose.

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From Goodreads: 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 puts her guinea pig too close to the oven and it catches fire. Primrose can use a little extra attention. Her parents were lost at sea, and everyone but her thinks they are dead. Her Uncle Jack, who kindly takes her in, is perfectly nice, but doesn’t have much time on his hands. Miss Perfidy, her paid babysitter-guardian, smells like mothballs and really doesn’t like children, and her school guidance counselor, Miss Honeycut, an uppity British woman of the world, is too caught up in her own long-winded stories to be any kind of confidante. Nobody knows what exactly to think of young Primrose, and Primrose doesn’t quite know what to make of her small community, either.

Pine Island Home is one of her more current books, and I found it through a delightful recommendation from a book store. The book is reminiscent of a Penderwicks type situation where four sisters are found needing a permanent home after the passing of their parents. Through more challenges and tragedies, they make their way to Pine Island in Maine where they restart life.

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Four sisters search for true family in this story of resilience by a Newbery Honor author.

From Goodreads: When the McCready sisters’ parents are washed away in a tsunami, their Great Aunt Martha volunteers to have them live with her on her farm in British Columbia. But while they are traveling there, Martha dies unexpectedly, forcing Fiona, the eldest, to come up with a scheme to keep social services from separating the girls – a scheme that will only work if no one knows they are living on their own.

This is next on my list and looks charming:

From Goodreads: In this hilarious chapter book mystery, meet a girl whose parents have been kidnapped by disreputable foxes, and a pair of detectives that also happen to be bunnies! When Madeline gets home from school one afternoon to discover that her parents have gone missing, she sets off to find them. So begins a once-in-a-lifetime adventure involving a cast of unforgettable characters. There’s Mr. and Mrs. Bunny, who drive a smart car, wear fedoras, and hate marmots; the Marmot, who loves garlic bread and is a brilliant translator; and many others. Translated from the Rabbit by Newbery Honor-winning author Polly Horvath, and beautifully illustrated by Caldecott Medal winner Sophie Blackall, here is a book that kids will both laugh over and love.

Her next book, titled Library Girl, is set to come out in September, and it’s the top of my reading list!

From Goodreads: After secretly living in the public library for the last eleven years, Essie must learn to adapt to a world that’s not as perfect as the stories she’s grown up with in this heartfelt middle-grade novel from Newbery Honor author Polly Horvath. Essie has grown up in the public library, raised in secret by the four librarians who found her abandoned as a baby in the children’s department. With four mothers and miles of books to read, Essie has always been very happy living there.  But now that she is eleven, Essie longs for a little more freedom . . . and maybe a friend her own age. She seems to get her wish when her moms let her go by herself to the mall and then on her second trip there, she meets G.E., a mysterious boy who looks so much like her she can’t help but think they may be twins. Maybe he was raised by four dads in the department store. Maybe his story is intertwined with hers, and their happy ending is as one big family. But as she gets to know him better, she learns that nothing is as simple as it seems in her stories — not even her own past.

I hope you add her to your TBR list. More about the author here:

Polly Horvath website

Interview with Polly about Pine Island Home