Two clichés may help explain why so few picture book reviewers study the form they are dealing with and its history. The first, “it’s just a kids’ book,” is not usually articulated but relates to an old bias toward childhood. The other, heard too often, is “I don’t know much about art but I know what I like.” The problem with this one is that a critic not only needs to know what she likes, she also has to be able to say why. Know-nothing attitudes are at least partially responsible for the short shrift or “plot summary” school of picture book criticism.

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. 

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