Jane Yolen's reflections on children's books offer no stimulating insights but they are serious, which puts this far ahead of The Writer's previous publication on the subject, Phyllis A. Whitney's Writing Juvenile Fiction (rev. 1960). As usual with this sort of advice manual her admonitions on what not to do are sounder and more specific than are any positive suggestions on how to do it -- on realistic fiction, for example, she cautions reasonably against writing "to lead the young innocents away from evils" but the recommended alternative -- "simply telling a story" -- isn't much help. (Nor is it consistent with her rationale for the genre: "Wouldn't we rather have the children read about these subjects in a well-written novel than learn them in the gutter?") However, there is much practical material here of the sort that would-be writers dote on -- from the important directive for writers at the youngest leve to "picture the picture book" (moving along for 32 pages) through more mechanical matter such as the idea file and portable notebook to the much-demanded particulars of marketing, contracts, revisions, etc., which Yolen knows from both the author's and editor's sides of the desk.