Dad Sad and Blue? If Not For You by Bob Dylan; illustrated by David Walker
If not for you,
my sky would fall...
rain would gather, too.
Artist David Walker has taken Bob Dylan's simple love song and with his charming illustrations of a father dog and his pup, turns Dylan's lyrics into a song about a parent's love for a child
The father dog sits alone on a swing, an empty swing beside him, and imagines what it would be like without his son.
Without you I'd be nowhere at all.
I just wouldn't have a a clue.
Instead, the pup blows his toy horn, waking Dad at dawn. It's their day, and and he can't wait for father and son to romp through a day of play together, with Dylan's love lyrics re-conceived into the story of an iconic time spent together. Dad and pup play hide-and-seek, Dad hiding his eyes ("I couldn't even see the floor...") and pretending to be unable to find his boy ("I'd be sad and blue...") The pup runs through grassy fields, jumps in puddles, and chases butterflies, and the two lie on their backs and fantasize, seeing the clouds above as polar bears who give them a piggyback ride through the snow and narwhals that play around their sailboat.
Walker's lovable little father and son pair, done up in soft, fantasy colors in a world with balloons, butterflies, and bluebirds, have a jolly, idyllic time together in a world in which winter does have a spring, in his If Not for You (Atheneum Books, 2016), out just in time for Father's Day. As Kirkus Review says, "Using minimal backgrounds and props to keep the focus on the relationship, Walker masterfully conveys emotions in his acrylic illustrations."
To sing this classic song from the Sixties along with the book, get the best and listen to no less than Bob Dylan and George Harrison rehearsing it together here: