I don’t think you are, tough guy.
What’s that you say? What is Man DAY?
Well, I’ll tell ya.
In the 35 years that Greenwillow Books has been publishing, the Man has been a rare beast, much like the sasquatch or the Loch Ness monster. It wasn’t until art director Paul Zakris took the reins from Ava Weiss that the Man was first introduced to the halls of Greenwillow. On this day, Man began to establish himself. Once a foreign species is introduced to a land, it begins to spread. On March 25th, 2002, Steve Geck and I started at Greenwillow. A year to the day later, Tim Smith took over for Phyllis Larkin, thus establishing the first official Man Day—the day the Men had settled under the Greenwillow tree.
In the past Greenwillow has celebrated Man Day by plastering the halls with “Manly posters” (see below), listening to Manly songs (mainly tunes from old Westerns, the Monty Python “Lumberjack” song, and a certain Martin Mull tune entitled “Men, Men, Men”). Some of us even dressed up, Mad Men–style, for the occasion. Even our authors and illustrators got involved: Katherine Hannigan renamed all her cats for the day with more “manly” names. Another year, Chris Crutcher won the Man of the Year award simply for being the man that he is, in addition to a certain story in The King of the Mild Frontier. The award was later given to Tim Smith for growing a Man Day beard. Which he still has to this day. How will you celebrate Man Day?
Characteristics of a “MAN” by Janet Saltzman Chafetz [title?] (1974, pp. 35-36)
1. Physical—virile, athletic, strong, brave. Unconcerned about appearance and aging
2. Functional—provider for family, defender of family from physical threat
3. Sexual—sexually aggressive, experienced. Single status acceptable
4. Emotional—unemotional, stoic, never crying
5. Intellectual—logical, intellectual, rational, objective, practical
6. Interpersonal—leader, dominating, disciplinarian, independent, free, individualistic, demanding
7. Other personal characteristics—success-oriented, ambitious, aggressive, competitive, proud, egotistical, moral, trustworthy, decisive, uninhibited, adventurous
Footnote from the editor: Chad, just like a man, got his facts wrong. Ethan Campbell was the first man at Greenwillow. He was an editorial assistant from 1999–2001. He overlapped with Bob the Temp [Robert Jackson].
After wandering in the wilds of RISD and a brief stint at Scholastic, Chad W. Beckerman worked as MAN DESIGNER of Greenwillow for four years—or, as he likes to calculate it, 1,425 days and 2,235 jelly donuts. In 2006, he became MAN ART DIRECTOR of Abrams Books for Young Readers and Amulet Books, where he designs the bestselling Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, among many other books. Unlike Sasquatch, we’re pretty sure he really exists.