Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Hear, hear!

A number of people I respect have issued a proclamation. It's a good one.

I don't think the current picture book market is drowning in drek, not at all. The early days of picture books had Margaret Wise Brown, but they didn't have Mo Willems. Innovative work is still being produced; some of it feels like it could only have been created by its particular artist, and some of it makes me wonder, "Why didn't anyone think of this before?"

What I'd like to tell some authors and illustrators, though, is that it's not enough to know and to show us that children are charming. We know children are charming, and children know it, too; childhood is where they spend all of their time. For a book to be worth a child's time, it needs to do something of its own, or do something in a new way. That might mean introducing a character who's interesting for a reason beyond being young and cute, or it might mean approaching a concept like the alphabet in a way children haven't seen before, or...

well, you're the innovators. Show us something.

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