Title: Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge
Author/Illustrator: Mem Fox/ Julie Vivas
Publisher/Date: Kane/Miller Book Publishers/ 1985
Genre/Audience: Fiction/Ages 4+
Themes: memory, old age, secrets, friendship, intergenerational relationships
Opening: "There was once a small boy called Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge and what's more he wasn't very old either. His house was next door to an old people's home and he knew all the people that lived there."
Synopsis: From School Library Journal: "A small boy, Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, knows and likes all of the old
folks in the home next door, but his favorite is Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt
Cooper because she has four names, too. Hearing that she has lost her memory, he asks
the old folks what a memory is ("Something from long ago" ; "Something that
makes you laugh;" "Something warm;" etc.), ponders the answers, then gathers up
memories of his own (seashells collected long ago last summer, a feathered
puppet with a goofy expression, a warm egg fresh from the hen) to give her. In
handling Wilfrid's memories, Nancy finds and shares her own. The
illustrations are splashy, slightly hazy watercolors in rosy pastels which contrast the
boy's fidgety energy with his friends' slow, careful movements and capture the
story's warmth and sentiment." John Peters, New York Public Library
Why I Love This Book:
Children can be open, honest, sincere, and literal, all of which make Wilfrid endearing. They often don't see the social labels or notice the differences among people, making them the perfect conduit through which to open our adult eyes.
Writing prompt: What's a memory to you? Why?
Make a collection of artifacts, like Wilfrid does, and tell the stories behind each one.
Hear the story read here: http://www.storylineonline.net/ Site also includes a number of related activities.
For more links to Perfect Picture Books, a collection of bloggers who contribute at Susanna Leonard Hill’s site, click here.