I still feel challenged when faced with the twin tasks of judging and then explaining, clearly and succinctly, the reasons for a judgment. I persist because of a very deep conviction that…A PICTURE BOOK IS A COMPLICATED FORM OF COLLABORATIVE ART. When it is very well done, it is an artistic achievement worthy of respectful examination and honor. Even failures, and especially near misses, deserve the kind of attention and understanding given to serious creative endeavors.

Karla Kuskin, from the article “To Get a Little More of the Picture: Reviewing Picture Books” in the Mar/Apr ‘98 issue of Horn Book Magazine. 

Finally, someone addresses the sad state of picturebook reviewing. In 1998, no less, though it still holds up today. I’ll post more of my favorite quotes from it soon, but if you can track it down, it’s worth reading in its entirety.

I love how Kuskin has written dozens of picturebooks and over a hundred reviews, yet she admits to finding it difficult to judge and clearly explain her judgments. I wonder how many reviewers today find it as difficult to write their reviews. How many have a similar conviction that picturebooks are deserving of serious examination and understanding? Where are the reviews that reflect that conviction? 

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