REVIEW: One Photo by Ross Watkins and illustrated by Liz Anelli

Published: 29th August 2016

Publisher: Penguin Viking

Pages: 32

Format: Hardback, picture books courtesy of the publisher

RRP: $24.99

5/5 Stars

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.




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.


To learn more about the Ross Watkins (author), visit the following social media sites:

Penguin Books Australia | Facebook |

To learn more about Liz Anelli (illustrator), visit the following social media sites:

Liz Anelli website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

To purchase a copy of One Photo, visit the following online retailers:

Penguin Books Australia | Booktopia | Fishpond | Angus & Robertson’s Bookworld | Book Depository |


2 thoughts on “REVIEW: One Photo by Ross Watkins and illustrated by Liz Anelli

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