One Photo: Book Review

One Photo by Ross Watkins. The story of a man who takes photos of odd things and never his family. Read the review at Miss Jenny's Classroom.

Photos. He doesn’t take photos of me or you. He takes photos of silly stuff, stuff that doesn’t matter. Does it?

Title: One Photo
Author: Ross Watkins
Illustrator: Liz Anelli
ISBN: 9780670077977          Language: English

Classification: Fiction
Themes: loss, memories, family

What’s it about?
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 of him with or without the family. And then one day he is gone.

Illustrations are very engaging – it’s not a style I would normally click with but it suited this book beautifully. I thought the pace and tone of the story was really well done. The language is basic enough and gets the point across.

Unexplained condition leaves you…hanging?

One Photo by Phil Watkins. The story of a man who takes photos of odd things and never his family. Read the review at Miss Jenny's Classroom.My Thoughts
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 fully recommend this book but I just can’t bring myself to do that 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, Alzheimer’s. The book though doesn’t make this clear. I had hoped there would be a notes/information page at the end but no where in the story does it tell you and there are no notes. It reminds me of those books which end with “…and then I woke up and it was all a dream”. I felt let down; incomplete. 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.

You might consider using this in a technology lesson looking at past and present in regards to the “old” camera with film (makes me feel old) that the father uses vs. digital technology of today we use to take photos. In this regard the book does have potential for classroom use.

Ross Watkins author of One Photo. Click to his website.Liz Anelli - illustrator - Click to her website.

What do you think?