In Roger Sutton's post on authors and reviewing, he says of children's book reviewers, "There is also a tendency in the allied children's book fields to be "nice," which isn't good for literature..."
I've been wondering recently if this isn't the case. I often see some at least passable reviews of books that appear to me to be really poorly written. What's the harm, you may ask?
Soon after I got out of college, I read an article in Ms Magazine on whether or not women's literature should be judged differently than...whatever you want to call what else is out there. I don't recall the justification for judging it differently. All I recall is the justification for not doing so.
The author of the article said, essentially, that in our culture "different" often means "unequal" and "unequal" often means "inferior." Thus if the authors of women's literature were going to be judged by a different standard than the authors of mainstream literature, they ran the risk of having their work considered different from and possibly inferior to mainstream literature.
If women writers wanted to play the game as equals, they had to play by the same rules everyone else played by.
If children's writers want to play the literary game as equals, we can't expect to be treated differently than other writers are treated. Being treated nicer can very well mean that our work is being given a pass because we aren't considered as good as writers whose work is reviewed more vigorously.
If we want to be taken seriously as writers, we have to play by the same rules everyone else plays by. That's better for us as individual writers, and it's better for children's writing in general.