Most of the picture books I acquire are the package deal--the author and the illustrator are the same person (see Ashyln Anstee, the Fan Brothers, Ben Clanton, Mike Boldt, and Jessie Sima's books, as examples.) When I do buy a manuscript, there's usually a very clear reason, such as the writer is a celebrity (Laurie Berkner, Quvenzhané Wallis, Ylvis) or there's some obvious promotional opportunity (for example, Ada's Violin, which, beyond being an awesome book, has Earth Day, publicity, and education market potential).
Hannah Barnaby's Bad Guy is simply a well-written and funny story with awesome opportunities for illustrations--all the things you want from a picture book. For sure, the picture book will appeal to families with more than one kid--the story offers an original sibling rivalry narrative--and I've learned that many children relish the opportunity of playing the villain, which our hero excels at. But I really wanted this book on my list because it's GOOD. Mike Yamada's artwork has the right balance of sweetness, humor, and detail--I can't wait to see what he delivers for Bad Guy. It's always a joy to work with his agent, Kirsten Hall at Catbird, and I'd been very eager to do a deal with the glorious Linda Pratt of the Wernick Pratt Agency. Mission: accomplished!