“…nobody is born with taste, either good or bad. When a beloved parent or teacher espouses something new, the odds are that the children close to that parent or teacher will be pleased with it, too. But, both bookmakers and their critics have responsibilities as taste-makers and therefore as educators. That is why it is in a critic’s job description to point out when the wit in a story is not evident in the art, or the drawing of the central figure is an awkward knockoff of something Arthur Rackham did better. Even though the child the book is meant for will not necessarily see these fine points, someday when he is picking out books for his own child he will be more discriminating, in part because you and I have been.”
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.
Viewed from this perspective, the picturebook reviewer has an even greater responsibility to make distinctions between great and mediocre works than critics of other artforms.