I came across this fascinating article about reviewing picture books in the Web Extras section of the Horn Book Guide website. As a reviewer of picture books myself, I was interested in author Karla Kuskin's observations about the difficulty involved in writing a lengthy, intelligent critique of a book which is often shorter than the review itself. I was also impressed with her impassioned defense of the picture book as art, an opinion I hold as well.
The role of the Book Reviewer has been on the wane for awhile now, with high-profile periodicals choosing to do away with review sections. And the influence of the blogosphere (to which I of course happily contribute) cannot be underestimated. If everyone is a critic, many of them are choosing to put their opinion on-line for all the world to see. And let's face it, not everyone wants to read a wordy, high-falootin break down of Nobunny is Perfect. They just want to know if their three year old will want to read it ten times a night. The Washington Post book reviews may not have insight on this, but joreads, a mom, TX, on Amazon.com, will.