Cover Image

A Photo for Greta by A. Alter

Alter, Anna. A Photo for Greta. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2011.  Print.

A Photo for Greta is a warm and appealing paean to paternal love. Alter’s personal memories of her father, a professional photographer, appear to be the source of inspiration for Greta’s story. Greta is a bunny whose father “travels all around the world taking pictures of very important people” which means he is away much of the time or he comes home from work after Greta has gone to bed. While her father is working, Greta often dresses up like the characters her father is photographing such as a ballet dancer or a circus performer. When her father decides to turn his lens on Greta, “It was the best day she could remember.” Two important themes are raised in the book:  how do kids cope when someone they love is away and they miss them? And, what makes parents, and particularly Dads, special? A list of activities found at the end of the book such as making a photo album of loved ones or interviewing parents about their lives can help children address these questions.

Alter is both writer and illustrator. The soft-coloured and tender paintings are exquisite. Interspersed throughout the book are smaller illustrations and vignettes as well as arresting two-page spreads. Many of the illustrations are gently humorous such as the painting of Greta in full cowgirl regalia plucking a guitar and singing her solitary country song while her father is away photographing a country music band. The book is meant to be savoured and is aimed at readers between the ages of 4 to 7. The reassuring narrative, the exploration of a father and daughter relationship, and the sumptuous illustrations make A Photo for Greta a recommended purchase.

Highly recommended: 4 of out 4 stars
Reviewer: Tami Oliphant

Tami works as a research librarian at the University of Alberta Libraries and for the School of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta. She earned her Master of Library and Information Studies from the University of Alberta and her doctorate from the University of Western Ontario. She has worked in academic libraries, public libraries, communications and planning, and as a sessional lecturer and researcher at the University of Alberta and the University of Western Ontario.