Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox

As you might remember, our Family Focus Traits for the month of February are compassion and empathy. And, of course, we’ve been reading lots of books highlighting characters that act with incredible compassion and empathy to those around them. Up today, one of our favorites that showcases using these traits to help not a peer, but a community member in a completely different generation: Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox, illustrated by Julie Vivas.

Do you know Mem Fox? If you’re looking for an easy read to inspire your reading life with your children, be sure to check out her Reading Magic: Why Reading Aloud to Our Children Will Change Their Lives ForeverThen, be grab her many, many fabulous picture books (some of favorites include Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little ToesTough Boris (you can read my Instagram review here), Wombat Divine, and Where Is the Green Sheep? But, out of all of her fabulous books, Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge ranks easily at the top.

Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge tells a sweet story of a friendship between a small boy, Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, and a neighbor who lives next door at the old people’s home, Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper. Unfortunately, Miss Nancy is losing her memory, and though Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge isn’t really sure what a memory is, he sets out to help her find hers again.

Wilfrid’s quest is one of the most endearing I can think of in a picture book. He reaches out not only to his parents, but to all of his other friends at the nursing home next door, to gain a better understanding of what makes a memory. With more information about memories, he then sets out to gather memories for his dear friend Miss Nancy. And, miraculously, Wilfrid’s quest works. “And the two of them smiled and smiled because Miss Nancy’s memory has been found again by a small boy, who wasn’t very old either.”

Fox’s tender narrative is bound to touch your heart, making you want to both laugh and cry at various moments in the story. But, Vivas’s illustrations are just as delightful and endearing. Take some time as you read to notice the emotions and details that she manages to put into these relatively simple pages.

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Full of compassion and empathy, from the heart of a young boy “who wasn’t very old either,” given to someone unexpected, Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge is the perfect read for helping chidren understand these traits! You may also find this useful if you need a resource to help young children begin to understand the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

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