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Kate Messner


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Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge PDF Print E-mail













What You Need to Know:
• Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge is a fine example of the best of what Children's Literature has to offer us.
• This picture book would make a great read aloud for all ages.
• Originally published in 1989, it has withstood the test of time, and will remain to delight and teach children for generations to come.
• Mem Fox's story telling strength is in her ability to interpret large, global and important issues in a way that young children can understand and learn from.  Isn't that what great literature should do?
• In Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, Fox takes on the enormous and universal issue of aging.
Sweet Book Summary:
Wilfrid is a little boy who lives next door to an "old people's home".  Wilfrid tells us all about the residents at the home, and what he enjoys most about each one.  But his most favorite resident is "Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper, because she had four names just as he does.  He calls her Miss Nancy and tells her all his secrets". Wifrid finds out from his parents Miss Nancy is losing her memory.  He is distraught and wonders aloud, "what's a memory?".  Wilfrid goes on a quest to find out , and asks all the residents of the old home to answer that question.  The answers from these senior citizens are wisdom personified.  They range from "something precious" to "something that makes you laugh" to "something that makes you cry".
It is what Wilfrid does next that is the heart and the soul of this book.  "So Wilfrid Gordon went home again to look for memories for Miss Nancy because she had lost her own."  He creates a care basket of what he deems to be memories, according to the answers of the residents.  For example, he puts in a puppet, because the puppet has always made everyone laugh.  He puts in a medal which his grandfather has given him, because it makes him sad.  And so on. When he brings his treasures to Miss Nancy, she looks through each one and she begins to remember.
In this small story we are reminded of so many vital things.  We are reminded that we will all grow old like Miss Nancy.  We are reminded of the wealth of wisdom the senior citizens around us can impart.  But most importantly, in witnessing Wilfird's loving and compassionate actions, we are reminded of the importance and the value of the care we give elderly in our life, and in our society.
Author: Mem Fox Illustrator: Julie Vivas Published: 1989, 32 pages
Themes: Excellent Read-Aloud, Aging, Character/Values, Illness/Death
If You Liked This Book, Try:
Whoever You Are, Mem Fox
Harriet, You'll Drive Me Wild, Mem Fox
 

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