Picture Book Review: When Santa Was a Baby by Linda Bailey & Geneviève Godbout

whensantawasababy9781770495562Review: When Santa Was a Baby by Linda Bailey, illus. Geneviève Godbout
Source: Digital galley courtesy of Tundra Books/Random House of Canada Limited via Netgalley. Thank you!
Publication: October 13, 2015 by Tundra Books
Verdict: Very Good
Book Description:

From the moment they heard his booming voice, Santa’s parents knew their little one was special. After all, it’s not every child who is fond of the color red, is generous with his playthings and has an interest in chimneys. “Maybe he’ll be a firefighter,” said his mom. “Maybe he’ll be a scientist,” said his dad. When Santa Was a Baby is the adorably humorous portrait of a one-of-a-kind kid who grows up to fulfill his destiny — with the support of two very proud parents.

Reminiscent of Little Golden Books and early Disney animated shorts, Linda Bailey and Geneviève Godbout’s When Santa Was a Baby is a warm and inviting holiday picture book.

Readers get to meet Santa as a cuddly and round little baby; a sweet rosy-cheeked boy with a big booming voice all ready ready to shout HO HO HO. As we see him grow into a toddler, his preferences for red, chimneys, wrapping presents, giving presents, wanting a pet reindeer, and loving the cold become apparent. Santa’s parents, ever-loving and understanding, are a little surprised by Santa’s likes and dislikes, but are so proud of who he is and who he comes. In one low-key spread, we also briefly see a teenage Santa who doesn’t quite fit in with the ‘regular’ crowd, but keeps on paving his own path (all the while supported by his parents).

Almost vintage in its illustrative style and colour palette, I can see When Santa Was a Baby being a seasonal hit. This is a gentle story with gorgeous illustrations that covers some familiar ground, but is filled with such genuine warmth and heart that one can’t help but be taken in with Santa and his adoring parents. When Santa Was a Baby will likely be loved by children and adults looking for something new and sweet to read during the winter months- and probably off-season as well!

I received this book as a digital galley courtesy of Tundra Books/Random House of Canada Limited via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

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