Hindsight is 20/20
The Excelsior File recently located an article from 2005 that I happened to find particularly interesting. Called Has Childhood Gone AWOL? it's a remarkable little trip back in time to a scant 2 years ago. I didn't check the date at first and then all these references started to catch my eye. Aw. Remember when Britney Spears rather than Bratz was the greatest threat to our youth? Or how that book by Clive Barker was gonna be some kind of big deal? How quaint.
Anyone with half an interest in the genre could write something identical to this article today and, Chuck Dugan is AWOL aside, no one would question it. In the course of the discussion, this piece looks at picture books vs. YA novels in terms of price, marketability, and popularity. YA novels, you see, "are cheaper to produce than picture books, appeal to a larger audience, and are more profitable." I might quibble with the "larger audience" part of that statement, but otherwise we're in agreement.
The good news? As of two years ago author Don Gillmor wasn't going to give up on picture books quite yet.
"While announcing the death of the picture book is premature, its decline has certain consequences. It is unlikely that the genre will produce another Seuss, for one. The era of having your picture book become a cultural phenomena, read by children, discussed by adults, may be over. As reality is becoming grimmer, as innocence evaporates, those places where Sneetches stroll and Flummoxes shuffle will become more and more valuable."
Mmm. Mr. Gillmor doesn't think we've another Seuss in the works? Another cultural icon that reaches millions? Mr. Gillmor should glance on a bookshelf or two today. I've a reckoning as to who might end up a "classic" in the future. It just may not be the immediately obvious suspects.
Thanks to The Excelsior File for the link.