I think these were their names; years ago my colleague Anne Quirk came back from observing a Best Books for Young Adults committee meeting and said, "It's become the Tom and Daphne Show." Tom and Daphne were young people known to one of the librarians on the committee, who was having them read nominated titles and report back to her; she would then bring their comments to the committee as a whole: "Tom loved it.'" "Daphne was bored."
I was reminded of Tom and Daphne while reading Ty Burr's review of the new Curious George movie in the Boston Globe:
A fellow movie reviewer of my acquaintance recently spent some time railing against the habit some of us have of canvassing our own spawn for opinions when reviewing a kids' movie. Sentences like "the little critic sitting next to me thought 'Madagascar' was a brilliant addition to world cinema" drive her nuts, reeking as they do of both exploitation and smarmy parental indulgence.
And not just that--as Anne said of Tom and Daphne,"Do these kids have any idea of the power they wield?" This has been my experience as well--the opinion of a single child being allowed to trump the collective experience of a committee or the considered judgment of a reviewer. Why can't we have faith in what we are supposed to be good at?