Add It to the List: BAD GUY by Hannah Barnaby, art by Mike Yamada

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, Quvenzhan√© 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!