4 years old is an interesting age for choosing reading books! Most children in this age group are not reading independently though some may recognise a few simple words. In contrast other 4 year olds may only just be learning the letters of the alphabet. I had one each of with my boys – one picked up reading very quickly, one took a long time. Consequently, the best books for 4 year olds are books where your child can follow the story line by looking at the illustrations alone AND also are interesting enough for reading aloud by Mom or Dad!
Books For Preschoolers
Ha, ha I am really picky about the books I read aloud to my kids. I want to enjoy the story I am reading too!! I also believe the best books will get read again and again. So here are a few simple rules I have for choosing books…
- I don’t read books about mythical monsters because I might have trouble sleeping. Or fairies!! For the same reason. (It might sound strange but a few of us are highly sensitive in our family and strong emotions – sadness, aggression, suspense affect us too much to be enjoyable reading!)
- The print has to be big enough for me to comfortably read. No squinting here!
- I prefer books that have less words to read for my own benefit and theirs. Now days my kids will reassure me with “Look Mum, there’s not a lot of words in the book even though it has 50 pages!”
- The book has to have a story line and one that I find interesting to read. So Pokemon, Minecraft, Ninjago and an Encylopedia of dinosaurs, do not count! If you have younger kids than mine, Peppa Pig might fall into this category too. Do Peppa Pig books have a storyline or not?
So here are some of our favourite books that follow all the rules…
Best Books For 4 Year Olds
One of our all time favourites, this classic board book by Australian author Mem Fox, Where is the Green Sheep? has lasted several years in our household and still gets requested again. My 3 year old was even able to impress visiting family members with his early reading skills. Though really he had only just memorised the words from hearing it so often.
This book is about a snail that gets bored with living life on a small rock and joins a whale to travel the oceans. I originally got The Snail and The Whale for one of my kids’ birthdays or one Christmas. It has now ended up being on our regular family reading list. It’s a great one to read aloud because it has great rhyming and an interesting story line which sometimes my 3 and 4 year old will chime in with.
We don’t have a copy of Giraffes Can’t Dance so we borrowed it from our local library. I enjoyed this book, probably more than my boys did! Though they still liked it a lot. A fun readable story for 4 year olds with a great teaching point to the story line.
How could I forget the Hairy Maclary Collection by New Zealand author Lynley Dodd! I managed to buy a copy of five of the Hairy Maclary stories through the discards pile of my local library. I love reading these books to my kids- short, funny, great illustrations and memorable characters. Can’t believe my 5 year old could point out to me which dogs were included in which story and which dog is missing! I know I have been reading Hairy Maclary a lot when I can identify the neighbourhood dogs as there goes a Bottomly Potts, or he looks like Hercules Morse. Am I the only one that does that? 🙂
5. Two Frogs
Two Frogs by Chris Wormell is less known reading book for 3 year olds and 4 year olds. But this is one story we have read again and again. Quoting the Evening Standard’s review on the back cover, “The combination of frog illustrations and witty text works beautifully, so as soon as you finish it you’ll find yourself flicking back to enjoy this cautionary tale all over again.” Well anyway I like it because it’s an easy, interesting read with large illustrations. Makes the kids think they have just been read a long book, lots of pages to turn. Highly recommended!
Often not the first book to be chosen for bedtime reading, but it might be picked when one of the “no, it doesn’t have a storyline” books is selected first. It’s like when your favourite coffee is not available at the local cafe, so well you have your next favourite choice of coffee. Or in this case… Paddington Bear! Gives the kids a giggle reading about Paddington’s misadventures.
This one is pretty much always requested by my 3 and 4 year old. Now I’ve just discovered that there are a WHOLE series of Walter the Farting Dog Adventure books. One of these will have to be on our Christmas list!! My 7 year old got this book for his birthday recently from a friend and yes I read it to them… It is a funny story with colourful illustrations, and just really suits my boys’ sense of humour. I’m sure some of us know of dogs (or people) that fart like Walter does and laughing is a great way to end the day!
A great reading book for 3 and 4 year olds who love dinosaurs or dancing or… both! Saturday Night At The Dinosaur Stomp is a fun read aloud book with a simple story about, as the title suggests, getting ready for a party. The enjoyment is in the characterisation of the dinosaurs!
The witch and her cat are happily flying through the sky on a broomstick when the wind picks up and blows away the witch’s hat, then her bow, and then her wand! Luckily, three helpful animals find the missing items, and all they want in return is a ride on the broom. But is there room on the broom for so many friends? And when disaster strikes, will they be able to save the witch from a hungry dragon?
10. The Wonky Donky
Based on the popular song, THE WONKY DONKEY is such a fun reading book for preschoolers. Who ever heard of a spunky hanky-panky cranky stinky-dinky lanky honky-tonky winky wonky donkey?
What books do you enjoy reading aloud to your kids or grand kids?
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