Name of Book: Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge
Author: Mem Fox
Illustrator: Julie Vivas
Publisher: Kane/Miller Book Publishers
Audience: Ages 6 -11
Summary: Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge is a rich and warm tale about a young, small boy who lives next door to an old people’s home and befriends its residents. In the story, Wilfrid sets out to help an elderly friend, Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper, find her lost memory. His venture will entail enlisting the unique contributions from each of Wilfrid’s elderly friends.
Literary Elements at Work: Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge is a realistic-fictional account of a young boy who lives next door to an old people’s home and befriends its elderly residents. The story is narrated from Wilfrid’s point-of-view and recounts his venture to help his favorite elderly friend, Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper, find her lost memory. The story uses character development by allowing the reader/hearer an opportunity to discover something unique about each of Wilfrid’s elderly friends. Each elderly friend will in turn contribute something special allowing Wilfrid help Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper find her memory. The setting moves between Wilfrid’s home and the old people’s home. Wilfrid’s home is the setting for the climax when Wilfrid overhears his parents describing Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper as a “poor old thing.” It is at this point that the story’s setting shifts to the old people’s home where Wilfrid embarks on his journey to help Miss Nancy find her lost memory. The old people’s home provides the setting for Wilfrid to discover “what a memory is” from each of his elderly friends’ points-of-view. At home again, Wilfrid reviews all the information he has attained and gathers the treasured pieces he needs to care for Miss Nancy and her lost memory. The story closes in the old people’s home, where Wilfrid and Miss Nancy sit and remember together. Julie Vivas’ illustrations are as warm and vibrant as Mem Fox’s story. Her illustrations add depth to each character’s development by accenting details particular to each character. Julie Vivas’ also employs a delightful touch of whimsy and charm.
Scripture: Matthew 22:36-39. There is also an overarching theme of healing in this story. Wilfrid’s elderly friend is sick, and Wilfrid engages in the ancient practice of healing by tending to Miss Nancy’s care through his visits, talks, gifts, love and presence.
Theology: God gives to us the gift of relationship. God first reaches out to us and in turn gives us the wisdom, strength, love, creativity, and desire to reach out to one another.
Faith Talk Questions:
- What did you think about the story?
- Do you think Wilfrid is a good friend? Why?
- Do you have any friends who are old? How old is old?
- Have you ever lost something? What? Did you find it? Did anyone help you find it?
- Has your mom, dad, sister, brother, or friend ever lost something? Did you help him/her find it?
- Who gives us friends? Who gives us our family?
- How does God want us to treat our friends? How does God want us to treat old people?
- How does Wilfrid take care of his elderly friend, Miss Nancy?
- What things are you good at doing? How could you use the things you are good at to help heal someone?
Review prepared by Kim Lee, MACE, Entering cohort Fall 2007