In honor of Father’s Day – which in my head was supposed to be this coming Sunday but in reality was actually last Sunday – I bring an awesome, glorious, 70s style book to celebrate those special men in our lives who bear the name of “Dad.” Written in an informative yet simple way, this book discusses all the things that make a dad: his clothes, hair, stature, hobbies, job and more. And it is decked out with fantastic Madden illustrations. Prepare to be delighted by The Daddy Book by Robert Stewart, pictures by Don Madden, 1972.
There is just something about dads that is very hard to put into words. This book begins “D is for daddies who wear…”
Enter the 70s awesomeness. Now I’m not actually sure if these ties and bow ties were meant to be everyday attire or perhaps they are a sarcastic joke about the outrageous ties that are stereotypically given to fathers. Either way, with this spread you know you are in for a treat with this book. Stewart uses the popular tone of non-fiction picture books that clearly names items and also talks to the reader. He mentions things daddies wear like the aforementioned ties and also shirts, sneakers, trousers, mufflers – a list that could feel very plain and ho-hum if it were not for the fantastic pairing with iconic Madden 70s illustrations. Just look at these dapper dads exhibiting their stature and differences:
I’m especially fond of both Stewart and Madden’s diversity in race pictured and roles discussed. There’s a lovely array of men of all sorts of size and color and a variety of jobs that they do through their hobbies, as well as their work and home lives.
The 1970s publication rings out strong with mentions of smoking pipe dads, projectors, tape recorders, adding machines and technicians. Although not the intention in its creation, I love this added bonus as it gives greater depth to the feeling of sentimentality when thinking about fathers. Dads always seem to have a mysterious quirk in their existence that makes them all the more lovable and memorable.
Alternating between full color spreads and strong black and orange spreads, the illustrations are delightfully stuffed with characters, style and details. There is just so much to love here, just like the blessing of dads whether it be your own, an in-law, a grandfather, friend or spouse.
This book is long and I had a terrible time narrowing down the many photographable spreads, but I hope this taste gives you a hint of the lovefest this book holds for dads. And if nothing else, it should give you a smile at the illustrations full of hidden bits from the bygone days where smoking pipes was a given and seatbelts and helmets were optional.
I confess I know nothing about Robert Stewart and my google search became very confusing with a fairly common name as that. Don Madden however holds a strong pull on my affections. His style is so fabulous with sketchy ink strokes, vibrant colors, genuine expressions, and patterns galore. I find it a bit appalling that I waited so long to feature a Madden book here, but I guess starting with a dad smorgasbord is a good place to begin.
I hope you read your calendar and knew the correct date of Father’s Day. And I hope it was a lovely, memorable day with and about the men who help raise us. For as Robert Stewart puts it, “…all daddies love their little boys and girls. No matter what.”