Can you tell from this picture which child is the most competent reader?
Can you tell which one loves books and which needs encouragement and support?
Can you tell which child enjoys fairy stories, which likes poetry or which one loves mystery and adventure?
Only a fool would judge a book by its cover and only a bigger fool would attempt to assign books to particular age groups.
And yet, if you look around the book blogs this morning you will see that, based on research done by a marketing company, many publishers are planning to affix stickers with age-bands on the covers of their children's books. You can read more about it on Musings from a Muddy Island, Vulpes Libris, Fidra and by following many of the links recommended on those sites.
As a teacher and a parent, I know that the best gift I could give to a child is a love of books. I know that reading skills are easier for some children to acquire than for others. I know that coming upon a book that is just right for a particular child can spark an enthusiasm which will last for life. Imagine finding just such a book but with the 'wrong' age label, the youngster refusing to read it because it is meant for younger children; opportunity not only lost for this occasion but perhaps for the child's reading future.
All the arguments, from the writers' perspective as well as parents and teachers can be found on the links I've suggested above. Then go to sign the protest on No to age-branding.
I know that I'm fond of absurdities but not this one!