Title: Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge
Author: Mem Fox
Illustrated by: Julie Vivas
Publisher: Scholastic Australia Pty Ltd
Themes: Memory, Friendship, Mentoring, Gifts, Community, Relationships between the young and the old, Self, Hope, Love
One of Mem Fox’ and Julie Vivas’ most memorable works, the story of Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge is a story about a young boy who sets out to help old Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper find her memory.
Gordon finds out that Miss Nancy has lost her memory, and because he likes her (she has four names like he does) he decides that he must do something about it, he must find her memory…
As he wanders around and speaks to the people in his community they each wisely tell him what a memory is, and in turn Gordon seeks to find something that fits with that image of a memory…
This is not only a story about a young child’s love for another and the innocence of a child it’s about a mentoring community who take the child’s questions seriously enough to answer from the heart…
It makes you wonder how you would answer the question if you were asked, or how do you think others may answer the question if you were to be the one who asks it?
This is a beautiful and timeless text that is also beautifully illustrated. This is a book that simply must be on any parents shelves, or dare I say it everyone’s collection?
My grandfather, Wilfrid (note the spelling) Partridge, lived in an old people’s home: the Helping Hand in North Adelaide. When I visited him I noticed—and mourned—the lack of children. Old people and children get along brilliantly, yet here they were, separated from each other by the craziness of our society. So I decided to write a book that might bring children and the elderly together in the hope that teachers would initiate the inter-generational contact.