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One Photo

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From Ross Watkins, the illustrator of The Boy Who Grew Into a Tree, and Liz Anelli, comes this moving picture book about family, the failings of memory and the strength of love. Told in stunning prose, with poignant artwork, this book is a celebration of what we hold dearest.

32 pages, Paperback

Published August 29, 2016

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Ross Watkins

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5 stars
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Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews
Profile Image for Kylie Purdie.
439 reviews12 followers
June 13, 2017
This has been shortlisted for the Australian Children's Book Council Picture Book of the Year.

A look at early onset Alzheimer's or dementia through the eyes of a child. Dad gets an old film camera and starts taking pictures - not of people, but things. Ross Watkins shows how when things like this are happening in a child's life, they pick up things without understanding the whole.
Dad started doing more funny things, like putting things that belonged in the fridge in the cupboard, and things that belong in the cupboard in the fridge.
The doctor told Mum this was part of the process, and said to expect more of the same.
He's simply becoming forgetful, Mum explained to me.

The illustrations also beautifully convey the child's confusion over what is happening and how life just keeps going. Once again, this is a book that needs to be used carefully, but has so much value.
Profile Image for elisabeth.
135 reviews43 followers
September 18, 2017
last on my day-long picture book rampage is this interesting idea for a picture book, exploring alzheimers through the eyes of the little son of the patient. to be honest, I would have never even thought of this idea, but it was a good read and the pictures had a quirky kind of style that I really liked! I think it's really important little kids have at least some knowledge about things like alzheimers and aren't completely left in the dark when a family member or friend is affected (I can only imagine how disturbing it would be as a young boy to see your dad forgetting things all the time and never having an explanation) so I think the author and illustrator are doing some important work. I think the subtle references are enough for kids to form an understanding about the horrible things alzheimers can do - good on ya, ross and liz!
Profile Image for Shane Harcombe.
1,158 reviews13 followers
January 30, 2020
I love what this book is trying to do - making sense of a parent who is losing their memory due to an unspecified, fatal medical condition - but it just doesn't quite hit the mark for me. I didn't really get why the father couldn't just have taken photos of his family along the way (as well as his photos to remember me by project). It would have caused so much unnecessary pain & angst in those last few years/months.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Megan Liwanag.
26 reviews
July 25, 2017
I think it's a good book. I liked the way they did the illustrations. At first when I was reading this, I was trying to wonder where the storyline was going. Then, nearing to the end, it just changes. A major plot twist happens and it leaves you stuck. It may have only been a few pages, but it's one of the best picture books I have read.
Profile Image for Lara Bate.
1,336 reviews1 follower
March 20, 2021
A book about a father who loses his memory. He ends up taking lots of photos of things he will miss and the last photo is that of his family.
Profile Image for Andy Hickman.
4,742 reviews36 followers
June 4, 2022
‘One Photo’ by Ross Watkins, Illustrations by Liz Anelli
Bitter-sweet, lovely tribute to families experiencing dementia or Alzheimer’s
Profile Image for Jennie.
941 reviews
March 16, 2017
A poignant story told through the eyes of a boy as his family changes due to the early onset Alzheimers in his father. Dad's takes up photography and starts to collect a myriad of photos capturing his days and interests, but none of his wife and son. Understanding comes to the boy, and the reader, at the end. This is a quite extraordinary story that makes a significant contribution to children's literature that explores the heartbreak of memory loss on families
Profile Image for Jess.
315 reviews14 followers
May 28, 2017
One Photo by Ross Watkins and Illustrated by Liz Anelli is a beautiful and poignant picture book about memory, families, life and loss.

I love children's picture books. Absolutely adore them and I'm so slowly growing quite the collection, but One Photo was the first picture book that has ever moved me to tears. And not a slow trickle either, by the end of this book I was crying, full on proper crying. That's the power of this book.

Told through the perspective of a child, One Photo is the story of a family who are irrevocably changed by the onset of Alzheimers. A young son watches in bewilderment as his father starts to take the most unusual photos with his camera and acting strange. Confused at times by the changes occurring, but comforted by his mother's steady presence and explanations, the son watches day in and day out as his father deteriorates further and further, until he is not there at all.

One Photo is a beautiful dedication to the young and old who are dealt the cruel hand of Alzheimer's. It's a tragic story in the way a family loses their father to the cruel disease, but it's also heartfelt and beautiful at the same time. You can tell both Watkins and Anelli have witnessed people suffer with Alzheimer's not only from their dedications at the beginning of the book, but through the care and love that is effortlessly weaved through and onto each and every page of this book.

Don't be alarmed by how heavy this book sounds, for it is not all gloom and doom, darkness and loss. Ross Watkins's text is simply in it's deliverance following the strange actions of Dad, but it's also rather elegant and at times every humorous and heartfelt giving the subject matter and family a great deal of respect. Liz Anelli's illustrations are stunning and capture so much love and family warmth that it's hard not to be moved by the story.

In the end, One Photo is a picture book that I believe will stand the test of time. It's a rare and heartfelt book that is both beautiful to behold and witness. What's more it's a text to get children talking, something to explain a situation that is hard to understand (and even harder to watch happen) at any age. It's a resource for parents and children alike to understand Alzheimer's and loss and I've never seen anything like it.

One Photo would make a beautiful addition to every child's bookshelf.

This review originally appeared on The Never Ending Bookshelf on August 29th 2016 and can be found here: http://wp.me/p3yY1u-105
Profile Image for KidLit Library.
178 reviews6 followers
March 26, 2021
This review originally published on my website: Classroom Kitty

This story is about a family of three (mother, father and son) but focuses on the father. He takes photos of “odd” things according to his family and he is becoming increasingly forgetful. The mother and especially the son feel frustrated that he will take photos of those things but not him/the family. And then he is gone.

When I first collected this book from the library it was the illustrations that drew me in. Don’t get me wrong, the story is quite nice and is about a topic that is not covered enough or covered overly well in stories that can be used for children – that being pain, grief, anger and loss.

I would love to have marked this as a Use It book but I couldn’t due to one issue I had with the book – the unnamed condition of the father. As an adult I can venture a few guesses – Dementia etc as to what condition the father has but the fact that no where in the story does it tell you reminds me of those books which end with “…and then I woke up and it was all a dream”. I felt let down. If the book had contained a fact page at the end describing the father’s condition then this would be a highly valuable book to add to any school library collection….but as it is the book is just ok.
Profile Image for Sharlene Evans.
201 reviews2 followers
April 24, 2017
Felt moved just skimming this book in store and cried when reading at home. Loving memories of one lost through dementia, this story captured the struggles of bystanders beautifully. Illustrations that lost colour as memories deminish ... just beautiful!
Profile Image for Michelle.
578 reviews
July 31, 2017
Read for Children's Book Council of Australia book awards 2017.
Shortlisted for Picture Book of the year.
As such....I will talk about the illustrations first. Liz Anelli's unique style has a strong retro feel.
In regard to the story .....this book is suited to older children. Youngsters will not understand the content. It would be a great discussion book for schools lucky enough to have a Library Teacher.
The book has a beautifully warm feel to it.
Displaying 1 - 13 of 13 reviews

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