Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Waffle Hearts by Maria Parr

Waffle Hearts is the most delightful book I have read in a long time.  It's the story of Trille, and Lena, who live in a small coastal community in the Norwegian Fjords.  Reminiscent of Tove Janssen's The Summer Story, Waffle Hearts is stuffed full of fun , innocence, naughtiness, passion and bewilderment. Maria Parr captures the mood, language and logic of the children brilliantly.  

Here's one of my favourite bits.  Lena is growing up without a dad and is talking to Trille about his father.  

Lena looked at me irritated.  Then she burst out, "What use are [dads], anyway?"
I didn't really know what to answer.  Do they need a use?
"They build things," I suggested.  "Walls and so on."
Lena had a wall
"And they can...um..."
I'd never thought properly about what use my dad was.  To get ideas, I stretched up onto my toes and peeped over the hedge.  Dad was standing there muttering about his summer project, red in the face.  It wasn't too easy to come up with exactly what use he was.
"They eat boiled cabbage," I said in the end.

Together, Lena and Trille get into all sorts of scrapes.  They have a go at filling their own ark with animals, they try busking with recorders, they rescue a pony and work on finding Lena a dad of her own.  

What really makes this book special, though is that it's not just a series of funny, charming stories.  In amongst all, Trille and Lena deal with some really traumatic issues and life events.  Maria Parr approaches death, loss and uncertainty with great compassion and understanding, making this an excellent book to read aloud to young children.  It is full of hope, happiness and the warmth of a loving family.  Definitely one to cosy up with a hot chocolate and roaring fire.

Oh, and if you're thinking of getting it as an eBook, forget it.  The hardback edition of Waffle Hearts is so beautifully tactile, you'll want to carry it around everywhere with you.

I give this book 10/10. 

If you like Waffle Hearts, then you'll love Tove Janssen's The Summer Book

Waffle Hearts is published by Walker Books and is ideal for 7-9 year olds.
It has been translated from Norwegian into more than 15 different languages and has been made into a popular children's television series in Norway.

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