"slight"This is code for "where's the hook?"
On a young PB: "I worry that literal-minded kids will find the dancing somewhat irresponsible."This is code for "parents don't want to spend money on books they think will directly lead to misbehavior."
"Thank you for sending us your picture book manuscript, which I am returning to you now. I like the story, especially the linking between each response to a gift and the next gift. I can imagine it as a picture book for young children. However [name of company] is not the right publisher for this story. Our picture books tend to be much more substantial and aimed at slightly older children. I wish you success in finding the right publisher for this story and hope that you will keep us on your list of potential publishers for future work.Both of these are code for "This isn't close enough to pare down or beef up into what I want. Maybe if I give you just enough information to confuse you, you'll have a psychotic break."
Here's the deal: I had previously sent her a longer picture book manuscript and received the comment, "this is more what we are looking for, however we need some shorter books for our list, ones which parents and teachers can quickly read to the picture book set." ...And that is why I had a bald spot on the side of my head.
This is code for "I want to be supportive, but my head is too far up my ass to tell which way is up."
"As you may have noticed, this is a form rejection. While we would like to give personal responses to each submissions, it is not practical for us to do so at this time. Please keep in mind this is not a statement about the quality of your submission. All this says (and we apologize for not being able to offer more) is this: your particular story is not for our particular publication, at this particular time. Good luck placing your work elsewhere! Being an author is more a journey than a destination, and it's important to keep moving forward."