Review By HUYEN MACMICHAEL
What I absolutely love about this story is the way the characters are described so fully using so few words. The secondary characters only receive a few descriptive lines allotted to them, yet they felt fully developed. Julie Vivas, the illustrator, provides delicate and expressive watercolors to flesh out the characters. It is clever and subtle how the descriptions of each of the residents is simplified as if from Wilfrid’s point of view, which further develops Wilfrid’s character. Through Wilfrid’s perspective, the reader feels like those descriptions are the most prominent and important characteristics to remember like how “He admired Mr Drysdale who had a voice like a Giant.” His youth and innocence are clearly shown in the way Wilfrid connects with Miss Nancy “because she had four names just as he did… and [he] told her all his secrets.” His youth, innocence, and generosity are also demonstrated in the careful way he goes about figuring out what a memory is and bringing them to his friend.
The true magic of the story is the implied lesson of compassion and true thoughtfulness: by asking questions and personalizing the answers in relation to himself, then sharing the things that mattered to Wilford, he was able make a connection and a difference to the person he cared about. There is a circular, Zen quality to this story that is very appealing.
Every adult can only wish for as generous and caring a friend as Wilfrid as they age, and every child and adult can learn compassion from him and the way he befriended the elderly.