A picture book begins with a thought that tickles my fancy or touches my heart. Then come the words. Sometimes it's hard to get the words right because they have to leave room for the pictures.

And oh my . . . the pictures! I'm dazzled by the talents of the wonderful artists who have illustrated my words. Please have a look.





When Santa Was a Baby
illustrated by Genevieve Godbout
published by Tundra Books

Everybody was a baby once — even Santa Claus! But what kind of baby was he? And what was he like as a child and a teenager? In When Santa Was a Baby, it becomes clear that Santa knew his own mind from a very young age. From his fondness for the colour red, to his interest in chimneys, to his habit of giving his toys away . . . Santa was unusual right from the start. Luckily he had doting parents who supported him through every eccentricity, whether they understood or not. A warm, funny story about an odd boy who succeeds.

"Bailey and Godbout give Santa Claus a backstory in this sweetly funny account, warmly illustrated with soft, nostalgic pencil and pastel artwork . . . The result is a clever take on the Santa myth that develops him as a character with his own thoughts and motivations."  Publisher's Weekly (starred review)

"He’s an unusual baby: a booming voice, an interest in chimneys, a penchant for standing naked in front of the open refrigerator, enjoying the chill . . . With retro-esque art featuring people whose giant black eyes look ever so slightly crazed, it’s a sweet, gently satirical answer to the eternal question, How did Santa become Santa?"  New York Times

"Warm, textured pastel and colored-pencil illustrations on generous double-page spreads enrich this gentle, humorous, love-suffused tale."  The Horn Book

 


If Kids Ruled the World
illustrated by David Huyck
published by Kids Can Press

How would the world be different if kids were in charge? This picture-book utopia offers up some of the most cherished dreams of childhood — a world in which everyone would live in a castle, every back yard would have a lake, and every lake would have a treasure island. Kids could go to Recess School, and bedtime wouldn't even exist. Best of all, no one would ever forget how to play!

Winner, Ontario Blue Spruce Award, 2016
Winner, Saskatchewan Shining Willow Award, 2016

"This warm piece of speculative fiction is tailor-made for both circle-time reading and spurring class projects. Bailey’s what-ifs run the gamut from calendar and nutritional reform (“If kids ruled the world, every day would be your birthday! Birthday cake would be good for you”) to the legalization of transgressive behavior (“Beds would be for bouncing on and hiding underneath”) and vastly increased personal agency (“If you felt like going somewhere, you’d have your own thingamajiggy to get there”). . . Never once does a kid yearn for a world with more screen time . . . If that is indeed what would happen if kids ruled the world, let’s welcome them as our new overlords." Publishers Weekly

"Every page features a child’s dream come true. It guarantees an abundance of ooohs, aaahs, and even cheers and will rev up imaginations about all kinds of fun things kids might do if they were in charge. . . this is a surefire winner. Some books are built purely for fun, and this is one of them."  School Library Journal

“If kids ruled the world, birthday cake would be good for you." . . . And so the story goes – page after page – a “wish list” of a kid’s paradise! This book is fun, playful, imaginative and I can just hear the “YES’s” coming from the class! A perfect anchor book for inspiring writing and art! Love! ” Adrienne Gear, author of Reading Power












If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur
illustrated by Colin Jack
published by Tundra Books

What if you had a dinosaur, just lying around your living room, eating you out of house and home — and doing absolutely nothing? How could you harness that dino's energy to help out around the house and yard? As kids read the possibilities and laugh at their absurdity, they will inevitably create their own scenarios as well. Here's an exciting way for young dinosaur-lovers to think outside-the-box!

"This playful picture book encourages children to contemplate the “oodles of things you can do with a dinosaur” through a subtly ironic narrative that speaks directly to them. Two-page spreads capture the many hilarious scenarios that describe what to do should you happen to have a dinosaur. . . . Buried in all the rambunctious fun, the story leaves young ones with a message that can be applied to real-life situations: if you take the time to think critically and creatively, you can make effective and logical choices."  Booklist

"There is only one joke in this book; it has no redeeming moral value; and both Phoenix and Frida couldn’t get enough of it. The book lists the ways you could use a dinosaur, such as can opener, potato masher or diving board. There aren’t many books that have the courage to be this silly. Frida spent the next hour, literally, coming up with uses for other animals, like ride to school in a kangaroo, or teaching a hippo to roll in the mud. Simply wonderful."  The Globe and Mail

"Do you happen to have a dinosaur lying around? . . . From can openers to umbrellas to kites, the silly uses for dinosaurs will amuse and engage emergent readers. I read this book with my 4 and 6-year-olds who wanted it read again and again . . . Highly enjoyable and encourages the use of imagination to envision additional scenarios."  Canadian Materials

"If You Happen to Have a Dinosaur is a tongue-in-cheek user’s guide to prehistoric pets . . . The open ending invites lots of animated and imaginative discussions about what to do with other odd and unusual pets like a dodo, a porcupine, or a sasquatch. This wacky, zany tale is a storytime crowd pleaser."  National Reading Campaign

 

Toads on Toast
illustrated by Colin Jack
published by Kids Can Press

Fox is bored with his same-old diet of big fat toads for dinner. He decides to look for small toads, young and tender, instead. He catches a lovely sack of fresh young toadlets and is just checking his recipe books — toad stir-fry, toad muffins, toad legs — when Mamma Toad shows up. Can she find a way to keep her babies off Fox’s menu?

Winner, B.C. Chocolate Lily Award, 2013/14
Nominee, Saskatchewan Shining Willow Award, 2013/14
Toronto Public Library, First & Best Books for 2012

"Bailey’s dialogue is snappy and amusing, and the illustrations recall the scrappy TV-animation style of Chuck Jones. Never heard of “toads on toast”? Some people call it a hole-in-the-middle, and happily, a recipe is included."
 New York Times

“Some of your students will want to start cooking before you’ve finished the book .... almost 100 percent of your students will want to hear the book again.”  Kirkus Reviews

“Luckily, Mamma Toad shows up promptly to rescue her children and, in a nice bait and switch, suggests Toad-in-a-Hole. She plays Fox like a pro, fielding every objection . . . crackerjack dialogue . . . loose, humorous cartoons . . . Children in foodie households accustomed to discussions of how dishes are prepared will take to this-—and they’ll probably enjoy Toad-in-a-Hole, too.”  Publishers Weekly








Goodnight Sweet Pig
illustrated by Josée Masse
published by Kids Can Press

Pig number one is trying to sleep, plumping her pillows and counting sheep. But what chance does she have with nine other pigs crowding into her room? Here's a chance to count to ten and back again with a crowd of rowdy pigs who eventually bring sweet dreams.

Ontario Library Association, Best 10 Picture Books of 2007
Toronto Public Library, First & Best Books for 2007

“The story is told in a simple rhyme…The illustrations are bright and humorous…Goodnight Sweet Pig would not only help small children learn their numbers but would also make an excellent bedtime story for restless children.”  School Library Journal

"The allusions to Hamlet may go right over the heads of the book's intended audience, but won't escape the notice of the adult reader. There's something here for everyone, then, in a visually appealing bedtime book that counts to ten and then all the way back again."  Toronto Globe & Mail

“This is a well-done go-to-sleep book…”  Quill & Quire



The Farm Team
illustrated by Bill Slavin
published by Kids Can Press

The animals on Farmer Stolski's farm love hockey. They dream of winning the Stolski Cup! But for fifty years, they've been losing to the nastiest, mangiest, smelliest bunch of varmints in the North — the Bush League Bandits. Is this the year their luck will change?

OLA Best Bets, Top 10 Canadian Children's Books 2006
Shortlist, Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award, 2007
Honour Book, Ontario Blue Spruce Award, 2008

“A sassy, well-crafted story… the mostly full-page illustrations are packed with little details that will amuse children and adults alike, … Bailey and Slavin have produced a gem of a picture book that will remain popular for as long as hockey underdogs continue to compete for Lord Stanley’s famed cup.”  Quill & Quire

“Bailey’s story reads aloud well, while Slavin’s artwork captures its drama and humor in a series of action-filled acrylic paintings… Every child who has watched a bigger, brawnier opposing team take the field will feel for the plucky Farm Team.”  Booklist

“Slavin’s goofy acrylics playfully realize the joyful mayhem of shinny, and Bailey’s story gets the competitive burn just right, even if for a bunch of chickens, sheep and piglets.”  Kirkus

“The surprise ending will bring cheers from the crowd as they ask for repeated readings.”  School Library Journal

“Young hockey fans will be thrilled with this offering, which will appeal to sports fans and animal lovers in kindergarten through second grade, as well as the adults who read aloud to them.”  ForeWord


 

 

The Best Figure Skater in the Whole Wide World
illustrated by Alan and Lea Daniel
published by Kids Can Press

All Lizzy wants is to be the best figure skater in the whole wide world. But when the teacher assigns roles in the class performance of Snow White, she is cast as a lowly tree. It's the worst feeling Lizzy has ever, ever had.

Winner, Great Books Award, Canadian Toy Testing Council,      2003
Shortlist, Tiny Torgi Award (CNIB Print Braille), 2002


“Bailey deftly portrays the ambition, desire, disappointment, and creative solution to a common setback. Lizzy's character is visually drawn through expressive, muted gouache illustrations, highlighting her various emotional reactions. In addition, classmates are depicted as a multi-ethnic group with varied skating abilities.”
 School Library Journal

“…this story is a useful and an engaging example of overcoming disappointment. All children can relate to the experience of not being chosen for a part they feel they should have. Use this colorful celebration of spunk to spark up a story hour.”  Library Talk

“This is a delightful book, with genuine ups and downs, vivid childhood passions, and a cheeky and amusing solution. The illustrations, by Alan and Lea Daniel, are complex, lively, funny, and at the same level as the text.” Quill & Quire

 

When Addie Was Scared
illustrated by Wendy Bailey
published by Kids Can Press

Addie, a young girl growing up on a prairie farm in the 1930s, is scared of almost everything - thunderstorms, rats, turkey gobblers and wolves. But when a hawk swoops down, threatening her grandmother's precious chickens, Addie finds a fierce, strong place of courage deep inside.

This book is very special to me. The story is based on the childhood of my mother, Addie Bailey, in northern Manitoba. The beautiful illustrations were painted by my sister, Wendy Bailey, an artist living in Winnipeg. Look at the photos to see Addie as a child, and all three of us now.

“[This book] is based on a true story that Linda Bailey’s mother, Addie, tells of her own childhood growing up on a prairie farm in the 1930s. …[This] book is a welcome addition to Canadian children’s literature dealing with childhood fears.”  Quill & Quire

“The muted watercolor illustrations are realistic, executed from varying perspectives, and most effective in portraying Addie’s emotions.” School Library Journal

“The language is simple and strong, realistic but sensitive. The watercolor illustrations are emotionally vivid.” ForeWord




 

Gordon Loggins and the Three Bears
illustrated by Tracy Walker
published by Kids Can Press

All the kids at library storytime are waiting (and waiting!) for the librarian to begin reading Goldilocks and the Three Bears. But Gordon Loggins is the only one who sees a small door opening behind a book shelf. Slipping through, he finds himself in a forest - outside the three bears' house! But Goldilocks hasn't shown up. Can Gordon take her place?

“This hilarious story will be a big hit with kids who know the classic tale.” *Starred review,Quill & Quire

“Gordon Loggins and the Three Bears is a charming version of the traditional tale. Walker's cartoon-style illustrations, rendered in watercolor and ink, are well suited to the warmth and humor of Bailey's text. The satisfying conclusion leaves the reader convinced of the magic of story and the important role books (and the library) can play in a child's development.”  Calgary Herald


 


© Linda Bailey, 2007
© Art by Bill Slavin, 2007