Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge

Mem Fox’s picture book Wilfrid Gordon McDonald Partridge is the story of a young boy, Wilfrid Gordon, whose “house was next door to an old people’s home and [who] knew all the people who lived there.” His favorite person at the home is Miss Nancy, and Wilfrid Gordon’s father tells him that, at 96, she has lost her memory.

Wilfrid Gordon sets out to understand what memory is and asks several of the people in the home about it. He then collects some of his things that bring back his own memories and gives them to Miss Nancy, who begins then to recollect some of her own memories.

The story is a lovely one, with appealing, colorful illustrations, and it raises such issues as: What is memory? Are we still ourselves if we lose our memories? Can you lose a memory and then find it again? Can we rely on our memories to give us accurate accounts of the past? What is the role of relationships in memory?