You know how they say you can't judge a book from its cover? It's not true, because they always put the author's name on the front, and then you know if it's going to be good.
That's from my seven year old daughter, who said it to me last night as we were settling down to read. Already by the age of seven, she's worked out on her own that if the book's written by someone she's liked before, then she's Safe, but if it's by someone she hasn't heard of then it's a Risk.
This is not a comforting thought for a debut author, such as, for example, her Daddy.
The book we held at the time had the magic name Linda Chapman on the front (of Unicorn and Stardust fame). My girls have been major contributors to Linda Chapman's retirement plan. They have a simple strategy. When they read a book they like they consume every other book by the same author with the sort of rapaciousness normally associated with plagues of locusts. When that author's been picked clean (and enriched, because we buy them all new) they move on to the next. The other huge winners in this game have been Daisy Meadows, who is code for Narinder Dhami, Sue Bentley, Linda Chapman (again!), and Sue Mongredien, and of course Enid Blyton.
So if you're a children's writer here's a winning strategy for you: write something kids like, and then don't stop.
It interests me that all these books seem to get dumped on by adult experts on a fairly regular basis, but that's not stopping them selling in lots of millions.