So ... since a wannabe like me can't rub shoulders with the great and good of children's publishing (more like sneak a look at their notebooks) - here's a list compiled by one US agent of what UK children's book editors at the LBF told her they wanted:
--More boy adventure books (although one publisher specifically said their list is full in this arena so not as high on their list)
--would love a prize-winning new teen voice along the lines of HOW I LIVE NOW
--Funny with beautiful writing (so a blend of literary with a really fun story line)
--a modern Anne of Green Gables
--middle grade fantasy that is a girl-driven narrative
--humorous girl stuff that is more than just boys and relationships but is warm, and character driven. Not necessarily issue driven
--high concept middle grade with a really original voice so it can stand out.
--anything that can crossover solidly to the adult market (ie. THE CURIOUS INCIDENT OF A DOG IN THE NIGHTTIME)
--a contemporary author with a literary, classic voice. (hum.. that seems to tie in with the modern Anne of Green Gables example above) Read the whole post
Edit: I struck those last lines out because I thought I was being unfair to jump to conclusions. Any thoughts?
Stop the copycat books: They are the equivalent of pack journalism, and most of the time, we wind up looking like a bunch of rats chasing a chunk of stale cheese.