A small boy overhears his parents discussing the memory loss of a ninety-six year old neighbor who lives next door in the old people's home. He tries to discover the meaning of "memory" by asking the other residents who tell him, respectively, it's something warm, something sad, something that makes you laugh, something precious as gold.

Young Wilfrid gathers his own "memories" to bring to Miss Nancy, his favorite neighbor because she, too, has four names. Each of his treasures, a freshly laid egg for warmth, a toy puppet for laughter, his grandfather's war medal for sorrow, and his precious football stimulate warm reminiscences for Miss Nancy Alison Delacourt Cooper and smiles and smiles for the two of them.


A magnificently written and illustrated story about communication and what it takes to initiate the bond not only between the very old and the very young, but between people of any age--to reconnect with the ordinary aspects of life that were ever significant to us. Jules Vivas's ample, charming soft pastel water-color images on white background animate the sparse text as they illuminate the idiosyncracies and humanity of each resident.

Were youngsters like young Winfred frequenting Strand's Old People on the Nursing Home Porch (see this database), death would not be the only redemption for the loneliness and meaninglessness of their lives. Quite the contrary, real care--sincere interest and attention, has the power to quicken into life, even if only for moments, very old, seriously ill and dying persons, and those of us in attendance.


Illustrated by Julie Vivas. Adapted for the stage and performed in Australia, 1987. The title is the author's father's full name. Her grandfather, whom the author visited weekly in an old people's home, died at age 96, though suddenly--of pneumonia. Autobiographic details, in fact, can be linked to each character (see The book was named Children's Book of the Year by the Child Study Association of America, Notable Book by the America Library Association, and one of 100 Best Children's Books by the New York Times.



Place Published

New York



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