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SexTipsElizabeth has put together an entertaining and most instructive list of ten don’ts for writers submitting manuscripts to agents or editors. (Also entertaining is this take on our listicle culture I read about in the NYT yesterday.)

Could I make a list of Ten Things That Make a Children’s Book Reviewer Roll His Eyes? Oh, yes. This week (and it changes every week) my first would be Whimsical Names Used Indiscriminately and Overmuch. What are some of yours?

Roger Sutton About Roger Sutton

Roger Sutton has been the editor in chief of The Horn Book, Inc, since 1996. He was previously editor of The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books and a children's and young adult librarian. He received his M.A. in library science from the University of Chicago in 1982 and a B.A. from Pitzer College in 1978. Follow him on Twitter: @RogerReads.



  1. One thing that makes me nuts, that I didn’t have room to mention, is when an author thinks their book will be more appealing if they throw in a few pop culture references of the moment. In truth, that is more likely to make the book seem dated before it even hits the shelves. Emily Wood Mitchell gives this great example: “He looked just like Austin Mahone, if Austin Mahone were blond.” See what I mean?

  2. Roger Sutton Roger Sutton says:

    I remember teasing Richard Peck about the girl in REMEMBERING THE GOOD TIMES reminiscing about her Cabbage Patch Doll, when she was too old to have had one. Always quick, he riposted that she wouldn’t be too old by the time the paperback came out.

  3. Roger Sutton Roger Sutton says:

    And today’s specifically in re picture books, when the text is less like a story and more like a list.

  4. Verse novels that have no answer for the question “Why should this be a verse novel?”

  5. With you 100% on the whimsical names, to which I would add

    -odd personality quirks/hobbies/obsessions that provide a convenient framework for the author’s themes
    -charming Southern towns filled with quirky characters
    -elaborate rodent societies – can’t we give insectivores or ungulates some attention?

  6. In re: giving ungulates some attention, I’m really hoping for a detailed fantasy trilogy by Doreen Cronin.

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