Monday, September 21, 2015
Book Review: Adventures with Waffles by Maria Parr (2015)
Due to its setting, and the fact that it is a translation, this book has a very different feel from most other recently published middle grade fiction. The writing style feels very fresh, and the details of daily Norwegian life - including the wearing of wooden shoes! - are completely fascinating. The involvement of Trille and Lena's families in their everyday activities gives the story a gentle warmth, which proves very comforting when sad events sometimes occur, and their various hi-jinks, such as pretending they live during World War II and burying radios, are clever, memorable, and entertaining. The story is the perfect mix of fun and creative adventures and cerebral, introspective reflection.
This book is reminiscent of several other titles, new and old. The boy/girl friendship, and the characters' shared imaginary play easily bring to mind Bridge to Terabithia. Because of the similarities, I kept expecting something terrible to happen, but rest assured, Adventures with Waffles is not a tragedy; it just has a similar approach to portraying an important friendship. The Good Master by Kate Seredy (my review for which will appear on an Old School Sunday in December) is another excellent read-alike, as it is also a family-oriented adventure story set in Europe. I would also suggest this book to readers who have enjoyed last year's Quinny and Hopper, which stars another unlikely, but somehow compatible, pair of boy/girl friends.
Adventures with Waffles is a perfect novel for elementary students in grades 3 to 5, and it will appeal equally to boys and girls as a read-aloud or for independent reading. Highly recommended.