Cheryl and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Manuscripts
In case you missed it (and it ran last Thursday or so, so you really should have) there was a wonderful piece on Cheryl Klein's blog encapsulating the very worst aspects of poorly written picture book manuscripts. As someone who saw her own share of this while on Newbery (not even Caldecott, mind you) my heart goes out to her. I do think, however, that Roger Sutton's point said it best:
But here's the thing. While Cheryl and other editors I know often share the rules of picture-book writing with hopeful authors at SCBWI conferences and the like, why, oh Lord, why, do we keep seeing published picture books that positively revel in breaking these very same rules. No, revel's not the right word, because there are great, great picture books that break the rules in service to a Higher Good (that would be Literature); what I mean are books that indulge in stupid rhyming couplets, age or format inappropriateness, preachiness, and lists, lists, lists (Cheryl's parody is hilarious here) that serve only to give the illustrator time and space to indulge him or herself in a series of pretty paintings.