1. Extremely long and complex sentences. I’m actually weary of any sentences in my toddler’s books that have more than two commas. Why? Well, because commas make for more complex sentences that are harder to follow by young ears. Rather than long and complex sentences, go for books containing mostly simple sentences, books that speak in a way that is easier for your child to understand.
2. Unfamilar themes. A good book for toddlers usually draws upon familar themes, or themes and settings and animals and people who they may have come into contact with in their real lives. For instance, a story about going to the park would work better for most toddlers than a story about a trip to basement apartment on the edge of the city.
3. Overly detailed illustrations. With toddlers, I like to think that with mostly everything, less is more. This philosophy holds up when it comes to book illustrations as well. The best kinds of illustrations feature bright colors, simple designs, and bold prints. Illustrations at this stage are important because toddlers are still relying mostly on them, and a lesser extent, on what you read to them, to make sense of the story.
4. Too sophisticated resolutions and endings. If the ending of your toddler’s book feels like a Martin Scorcese film, then it’s a bad ending. Good endings for toddlers are simple. They don’t require too many words to explain or make sense of. Oh, and they are happy endings.
5. Too many pages. Unless they’re being used to lull your child into a deep sleep, toddler books should be short, and should contain one main idea that is built upon in the course of the book. Anything more and your toddler is likely to lose interest. Fast.