I recently heard an interview with the beloved Australian children’s book author Mem Fox in which she was asked which of all her books was her favorite.
She nominated Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge. It tells of a little boy who lives next door to an old person’s home and befriends all the residents. When he hears his favourite resident Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper – who has four names just like him – has lost her memory he sets out to help her find it. His quest to understand the concept of memory affords each of the residents the opportunity to recall their own most precious life moments. The heartwarming illustrations of Julie Vivas endow poignancy.
When I was reading bedtime stories to my children some 30 years ago Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge was also my favourite. Each time I started reading the tears would start to well. In the interview Mem Fox revealed that Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge was her father’s name. She said most adults she knew couldn’t read the book without tears coming to their eyes. But children took the touching tale in their stride. I can hardly wait until my grandson reaches the age where I can introduce him to Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge.