PERSONAL: Married; children: one daughter. Education: Attended Rhode Island School of Design.
ADDRESSES: Home—15 Poquanticut Ave., N. Easton, MA 02356.
CAREER: Writer, illustrator, bookseller, manager, and business owner. Children's Book Shop, Brookline, MA, manager, 1986–2006.
SELF-ILLUSTRATED; FOR CHILDREN
Oh, Baby!: A Celebration of Babies, Little, Brown (Boston, MA), 2003.
The Snow Ghosts, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2003.
Eat Your Peas, Ivy Louise!, Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2005.
Sea Surprise, Holt (New York, NY), 2005.
Fat Bat and Swoop, Holt (New York, NY), 2005.
Larry Dane Brimner, What Good Is a Tree? (for children), Children's Press (New York, NY), 1998.
Kelly Ault, Let's Sign! (for children), Houghton Mifflin (Boston, MA), 2005.
SIDELIGHTS: Children's author and illustrator Leo Landry has a double perspective on the ins and outs of children's bookselling; he was manager of the Children's Book Shop in Brookline, Massachusetts, from 1986 to 2006. "For all that time I have wanted to create my own books, and finally it is coming to be," Landry told Sally Lodge in Publishers Weekly. While showing his updated art portfolio to prospective publishers, Landry received the suggestion that he should also try to write along with illustrating. At first, he was hesitant to add the additional work of writing to his attempts to enter the children's book field. After trying it, however, it worked well for him, he told Lodge. Still, the realities of children's publishing were constantly on display for him at the bookstore. "There are so many books being published that you realize that if you did break into publishing it would be very hard for your book to be a success," he observed. However, despite the long odds, Landry also took inspiration from being constantly in contact with the greatest children's books and the best authors.
Landry's first book, Oh, Baby!: A Celebration of Babies, is "a charmingly illustrated paean to infants," commented Booklist reviewer Diane Foote. The babies are depicted realistically, engaging in day-to-day activities like playing and bathing, as well as whimsically, peeping out of mailboxes, pumpkins, and pea pods. Chapters cover topics such as baby food, nature babies, and baby clothes. Young readers "will respond to the roundup of small, sweet infants" going about their real and fantasy lives, Foote stated. A reviewer for the My Shelf Web site concluded that "this one will be a bedtime favorite for toddlers."
In The Snow Ghosts Landry visits a group of young ghosts who live in the far north, where it is always snowing. There, the amiable ghosts have snowman-making contests, race on ice floes, and dance in the moonlight. The ghosts exercise every morning, and sleep on their icy beds each night. In the gentle world of the snow ghosts, nobody gets hit during snowball fights, polar bears are willing playmates, and prizes are awarded during snowman contests. The tiny, fluffy ghosts "possess a fanciful charm," remarked a Publishers Weekly reviewer, who also noted that the characters' playful antics "conjure the magic and whimsy of a fresh snowfall." The book "will stretch the imaginations of those who take the time to relish its quiet humor," commented Kathy Piehl in School Library Journal.
An unpalatable vegetable becomes a source of entertainment for a young girl in Eat Your Peas, Ivy Louise! As the youngster fiddles with her dinner, exhibiting little interest in actually eating, the peas sprout arms and legs and form a pyramid while a pea-shaped ringmaster introduces the Tender Tiny Peas. The delighted Ivy Louise watches the whole act: peas dive into her drinking cup, a weightlifter lifts barbells made from oat cereal, and nimble green acrobats perform amazing stunts of balance and precision. Meanwhile, Ivy Louise's parents continually encourage her to eat her peas. But such amazing performers surely deserve to avoid being consumed. When the ringmaster announces that the show is over, Ivy Louise devises her own creative way to help the vegetables exit the stage. A Publishers Weekly critic declared the book "an appetizing sliver of a tale." Landry's "watercolor-and-pencil illustrations are simple and uncluttered, but very effective," remarked School Library Journal contributor Elaine Lesh Morgan.
In Sea Surprise Dave the Shark is bored and wants to bite something, but his friend, Kate the Mermaid, thinks he should not be biting so much. To keep his mind off his desire to chomp, the two visit Eel, who is ill. The electric eel has lost his zap, he tells his friends. Bite-happy Dave offers to help by giving eel's tail a strong bite, but is instead promised a bite of plankton pie if he helps restore eel's zap. Dave and Kate set about planning a way to help eel feel better and recover his charge; they become so involved in their task that a disappointed eel thinks they have forgotten him. Though the duo's plan fails, Dave's bite-mania pays off when he latches on to exactly the right metal object at just the right time during an electrical storm, recharging eel with a refreshing jolt of electricity. The book is "a good choice for independent readers eager to plunge into early chapter books," noted a Publishers Weekly contributor. Landry's "winning underwater tale of friendship" features a "light tone, tongue-in-cheek humor, wordplay, and humorous situations," commented Horn Book reviewer Robin Smith.
BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:
Booklist, May 15, 2003, Diane Foote, review of Oh, Baby!: A Celebration of Babies, p. 1672.
Children's Bookwatch, June, 2005, review of Eat Your Peas, Ivy Louise!
Horn Book, May-June, 2005, Roger Sutton, review of Eat Your Peas, Ivy Louise!, p. 309; May-June, 2005, Robin Smith, review of Sea Surprise, p. 331.
Kirkus Reviews, May 1, 2005, review of Eat Your Peas, Ivy Louise!, p. 541; May 15, 2005, review of Sea Surprise, p. 592.
Publishers Weekly, September 29, 2003, Sally Lodge, "Making the Leap: A Trio of Booksellers Don Authors' Caps," profile of Leo Landry, p. 24; November 10, 2004, review of The Snow Ghosts, p. 60; May 9, 2005, review of Eat Your Peas, Ivy Louise!, p. 68; June 6, 2005, review of Sea Surprise, p. 64.
School Library Journal, November, 2003, Kathy Piehl, review of The Snow Ghosts, p. 104; June, 2005, Elaine Lesh Morgan, review of Eat Your Peas, Ivy Louise!, p. 120.
MyShelf.com, http://www.myshelf.com/ (August 20, 2005), review of Oh, Baby!