DOWNEY — A father is responsible for so many things in a child’s life, and Laura and Rhea MacCallum wanted to sum it up in an exciting and special way to give to their own dad.
They ended up writing a book.
The book, called “Dad I Love You Because,” centers around a panda and a rabbit, who represent Laura and Rhea respectively, who list off the multitudes of reasons why they love their father (represented as a bear).
This was Laura’s, age 50, first time as an author, although Rhea, age 46, has been published previously.
This was also the first time the sisters have worked on a project together “like this.”
The catalyst for the pair to work together came out of a desire to do something special for their father, who turned 80 last year. As he reached this important milestone, both Laura and Rhea wanted to present their patriarch with a unique token of appreciation.
“He is one of those people who are notoriously difficult to shop for,” said Rhea.
Laura added that they had been “kicking around an idea for a collaborative effort for a while for him.”
“The genesis of this idea for the book was a couple of years prior,” said Laura. “As it kept getting closer to his 80th, we were like, ‘You know, that’s a really cool time; a milestone. We want to do something really big.’ A grand gesture, if you will.”
The book was illustrated by Fabrice Florens.
The scenes depicted in “Dad I Love You Because” are drawn from both of the sisters’ memories of growing up. Several Downey landmarks are easily recognizable in some of the illustrations.
“I came up with this huge list of ideas of what we could say, and Laura had a few ideas,” said Rhea. “On something like this, you could have an idea and think, ‘Oh that’s really great,’ but how do you illustrate it? There were a number of ideas that kind of got tossed…one was that he moved across country to pursue his dream in aerospace. It kind of became ‘you taught us to dream big.’”
“There are a couple pictures in there that pick up on Downey area things like...the front of the First Presbyterian Church.”
Now having presented the book to their father, the Laura and Rhea hope others may be able to use the book to express their fatherly appreciation.
“We found over the years that you can find a lot of great gifts for mom and Mother’s Day, but shopping for dad’s and Father’s Day has always been a challenge,” said Laura.
“We were thinking in terms of this would make a good Father’s Day gift, or stocking stuffer for the dad that’s really hard to shop for, and can be presented to fathers of all ages from kids of all ages,” added Rhea.
“Dad, I Love You Because” can be found on Amazon.