Sunday, February 24, 2019

Dad's Camera by Ross Watkins & illustrated by Liz Anelli (a picture book about dementia)

My thoughts:  When I look at this book with it's title, Dad's Camera, it takes me back to my childhood. My father was a photography hobbyist turned semi-pro photographer. He had several cameras. I remember the big one like we once saw news photographers using with the big flash attachment on the side. He also had an argoflex that you looked down into to visualize the picture you were about to take. And then he had one similar to the cover of this book only it was highly specialized and brought from Germany by my brother when he was in the army.

Memories. My memories. But that is not what Dad's Camera is about. It is about memories that are fleeing. The memories of a father. And this picture book attempts to bring understanding to its childhood audience of the condition of dementia and perhaps specifically, Alzheimer's disease.

The take on this book is that the illustrations are stark and somewhat impressionistic. The reality of dementia is a stark reality, too. And the author takes the family through the father's journey of photography where he focuses on things rather than family.

Perplexing? Somewhat. But perhaps it will open the door to helping children understand a little that is the vastness lost to the deep blackness that is dementia.

About the book:  A moving portrayal of love and loss captures who -- and what -- we leave behind once we're gone.

One day Dad comes home with one of those old cameras, the kind that uses film. But he doesn't take photos of the regular things people photograph. He takes pictures of his keys, his coffee cup, the objects scattered on his desk. He starts doing a lot of things that are hard to understand, like putting items that belong in the fridge in the cupboard and ones that belong in the cupboard in the fridge. In a sensitive, touching tale about losing a family member to a terminal illness, Ross Watkins and Liz Anelli prove that love is the one thing that can never be forgotten.

I received a complimentary copy to facilitate this review. Opinions are mine alone and are freely given.

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