cover image When Santa Was a Baby

When Santa Was a Baby

Linda Bailey, illus. by Geneviève Godbout. Tundra, $16.99 (32p) ISBN 978-1-77049-556-2

Bailey and Godbout give Santa Claus a backstory in this sweetly funny account, warmly illustrated with soft, nostalgic pencil and pastel artwork. As a child, Santa’s booming “ho, ho, ho”—as well as his predilections for the color red, giving away his birthday presents, and cool temperatures—set him apart from other kids; his certainty, as someone who knows his own mind, follows him to his calling as an adult. The result is a clever take on the Santa myth that develops him as a character with his own thoughts and motivations (and that would pair nicely with Jon Agee’s similarly excellent Little Santa). Godbout’s cozy artwork gives the book the feel of a classic, while also offering some cheeky moments—as when a young Santa stands naked in front of an open fridge, trying to cool down. Ages 3–7. Author’s agent: Hilary McMahon, Westwood Creative Artists. Illustrator’s agent: Emily van Beek, Folio Literary Management. (Oct.)