We've actually seen the opposite hold true in developing nations, where picture books (or story books) remain a crucial tool in laying a solid foundation for literacy and life-long learning among children.
I tore a piece of paper and realized I could turn it into the mouth of an alligator. When I saw that, I decided I could have fun in my studio, playing with smears, smudges, drips, holes and whatever else I could think of.
The recent NYT article on picture books set off understandable ripples of concern. But it didn't bother me because what I see in my little corner of the reading world has me certain that the picture book is alive and well.
The responses I have gotten from friends, family, and fans on the news of my 300th book runs the gamut from: "You have got to be kidding!" to "Anything good there?" to "You are a National Treasure/Goddess/Diva."
Picture books, while less in word count, are certainly not less important. There are unbelievably skillful authors writing in this vein. Authors like Jane O'Connor and Jon Scieszka. I've said it before and I'll say it again: writing picture books is an art, the art of word choice.
My aim isn't to butcher the Ramayana but simply to share it with people in a casual and entertaining way. If I've done my job right, Ramayana: Divine Loophole serves as an intro to a much fuller version of the story.