"Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge" - Mem Fox & Julie Vivas

posted Feb 28, 2016, 1:53 PM by Amie Ridley
This book, oh this book!  It was an absolute chance find this book, tucked away in the sale cart at our library (a wonderful place to find good books for very little coin...).  I had never come across it before, not even seen it mentioned in any 'wonderful books to read' lists, and yet fell in love with the heart of this book upon first reading it.

It hasn't got any less wonderful with every subsequent read either!

Ok, so from a technical perspective, Mem Fox really knows how to write books for children.  She seems to really get how kids look at the world, and how they absorb words.  So the descriptions of the older people that Wilfrid gets to know are repetitive and childlike.  And Wilfrid, the young child is the hero of this story.  There are no parents or "grown ups" directing the action, and it's all about Wilfrids perspective on what is happening.

Also the choice of illustrator for this story couldn't be better - the pastel illustrations represent the people from a childlike perspective that really evoke a dreamlike quality to the whole story.  It works so well with the theme of memory.

But technicality aside, it's the beautiful heart of this book that gets me every time.  It is a story about memory, and what memories mean to people, especially those who are losing theirs.  Its also a little bit about the healing nature of cross generational relationships.  And if I'm honest it can be challenging to me to think about how we do or don't connect so much with the older generations around us.  But there is something so beautiful and healing in the relationship between the enthusiastic child and the older people in this story.  And the way that memories are talked about is absolutely real - they makes us laugh and cry.