The offbeat style of this wonderful story--and of Julie Vivas's perfectly matched illustrations--couldn't be summed up better than by the oddness of the first sentence: "There was once a small boy called Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge and what's more he wasn't very old either." Wilfrid lives next to a retirement home, filled with folks like "Mrs. Jordan who played the organ" and "Mr. Hosking who told him scary stories." But his favorite old person is 96-year-old Miss Nancy. Everyone says Miss Nancy has lost her memory, and despite the fact that Wilfrid doesn't even know what a memory is, by accident he helps her find it. Mem Fox's original take on the capacity of children to help the old remember is especially notable for its non-patronizing focus on old people. (Ages 4 to 8) --Richard Farr
From School Library Journal
Grade 1-3 A small boy, Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge, knows and likes all of the old folks in the home next door, but his favorite is Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper she has four names, too. Hearing that she has lost her memory, he asks the old folks what a memory is ("Something from long ago" ; "Something that makes you laugh;" "Something warm;" etc.), ponders the answers, then gathers up memories of his own (seashells collected long ago last summer, a feathered puppet with a goofy expression, a warm egg fresh from the hen) to give her. In handling Wilfrid's memories, Nancy finds and shares her own. The illustrationssplashy, slightly hazy watercolors in rosy pastelscontrast the boy's fidgety energy with his friends' slow, careful movements and capture the story's warmth and sentiment. John Peters, New York Public Library
Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc.