We find ourselves at the library quite often (I’ve been utilizing our library’s “hold” feature for a couple of months now which makes finding books for our boys a lot easier than sorting through the shelves with two kids in tow) and through countless hours of reading adventures, we have amassed a list of favorite books that always seem to be a hit with our four-year-old.
Whether you’re looking for a book to check out for your little one from the library or happen to be thinking of a child you’d like to give a great book to over the holiday season, I wanted to share this roundup of books we love in our house with you guys today. These are the books that Chase loves at four years old though many of them were also a hit when he was a bit younger so hopefully some new books will pop out at you as you peruse this list!
Favorite Books for Four Year Olds
Excellent Ed by Stacy McAnulty, Illustrated by Julia Sarcone-Roach
This book is so sweet and follows Ed, the Ellis family dog who believes everyone in the family is excellent at something but him. Ed is determined to find something to excel at only to be outdone by each of the Ellis children. As the book continues, it ever-so-subtly offers a glimpse into sibling rivalry and feeling good about yourself even if you’re not always the best at everything.
The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson, Illustrated by Axel Scheffler
The Gruffalo was a library book find that I ended up ordering off Amazon because we loved it so much! The story is clever and entertaining and easy to make up funny voices to which only adds to the entertainment factor of this funny and creative book.
Magic Tree House Series by Mary Hope Osborne
I could go on and on about our love for Magic Tree House books but suffice it to say, they are incredible and there’s a reason they’re recommended over and over again for kids who are just beginning to get into chapter books. Chase is obsessed with them and we’ve been flying through the series ever since we began reading them a couple of months ago. The author does a fabulous job of writing stories that take place in places that are captivating with characters that interest children (ninjas, knights, dinosaurs, pirates). The books also move at a fast pace without being scary. They’re wonderful to read to Chase now and I know he’ll enjoy re-reading them in the future when he learns to read by himself.
Dragons Love Tacos by Adam Rubin, Illustrated by Daniel Salmieri
Chase received Dragons Love Tacos as a birthday gift when he turned three and it was wonderfully silly and fell right in line with his dragon obsession. It’s another book that begs to be read with over-the-top enthusiasm and always results in giggles from Chase.
The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson, Illustrated by Axel Scheffler
The Snail and the Whale is written and illustrated by the same duo responsible for The Gruffalo and is a beautifully entertaining read. It moves along well and inspires discussions about seeing the world and helping animals amid a backdrop of gorgeous colorful illustrations.
The Wonky Donkey by Craig Smith, Illustrated by Katz Cowley
We discovered this book thanks to my sister and brother-in-law who found it after a video of a grandma cracking up as she read the story went viral. It’s a silly, quirky book that our whole family gets into every time we read it together. There’s also an accompanying song that matches the books lyrics perfectly!
The Pout Pout Fish by Deborah Diesen, Illustrated by Dan Hanna
There’s a reason The Pout Pout Fish has 3,000+ positive reviews on Amazon! The playful rhymes are clever and simply fun to read and the illustrations are interesting and beautiful.
I need to find more books from The Cat in the Hat’s Learning Library because the three we have are books we read on repeat in our house. They’re educational in a playful way and as Chase’s interest in space, bugs and the human body began to explode, they found their way into our book collection and continue to be huge hits.
Cars and Trucks and Things That Go by Richard Scarry
Cars and Trucks and Things That Go is the gift that keeps on giving! It’s been a favorite of Chase’s for YEARS. As a transportation-obsessed little boy, it was initially fun for him to see tons of different vehicles as we read the story together but searching for Goldbug (a tiny golden bug hidden on every page) is his absolute favorite part of this book.
Pete the Cat Books
My mother-in-law gave Chase his first Pete the Cat book years ago (I Love My White Shoes — my personal fav!) and an obsession began! Chase loves Pete the Cat books and we have more than I care to count on his bookshelf. They’re short and easy to read and often have a decent message attached to the story (From Pete the Cat: Too Cool for School: “If you want to be cool, just be you”). I’ve also heard they’re wonderful books for kids learning to read on their own so I think our collection will continue to get a lot of use in the years to come.
They All Saw A Cat by Brendan Wenzel
They All Saw a Cat is wonderfully creative and beautifully illustrated. The book features pictures of a cat from the perspective of various animals and Chase has this one memorized!
We have a number of children’s Bible stories in our collection and this one is the very best of the bunch. It includes 12 stories from the Bible, written in an easy-to-understand way with colorful, eye-catching illustrations. The fact that Chase continually requests Bible stories from this book says it all!
The Bear Snores On by Karma Wilson, Illustrated by Jane Chapman
The Bear Snores On is another library find we’ve borrowed a number of times and it was a hit with Chase from a young age. The rhymes are cute and alliterative and the illustrations are big, detailed and eye-catching. It’s no wonder this book spawned a bunch of other “Bear” books by the same author and illustrator.
Daniel Tiger is such a sweet little show and as a parent I appreciate the way the creators and writers of the show tackle real-life events and issues. Since we try to limit screen time in our house, these Daniel Tiger books are a great way to reinforce some of the good messages from the show through characters Chase adores. (Note: I personally think the 5 Minute Stories are a bit better but having the 3 Minute Stories on hand when we need to wrap up story time on the fast side of things is definitely helpful!)
Additional Books Chase Loves
- The Day the Crayons Quit (creative concept, fun illustrations)
- The Book with No Pictures (guaranteed to make a child laugh — get ready to make a lot of silly noises)
- Little Kids First Big Book of Science (great for curious minds but we have to break this one up a bit because it’s quite long)
- Harold and the Purple Crayon (a classic for a reason and a great bedtime book)
- Ultimate Book of Vehicles from Around the World (an interactive book Chase will “read” on his own)
- Be Kind (great message but trends a little older)
- Alma and How She Got Her Name (a sweet story about the origins of one little girl’s long name)
Question of the Day
What are some of your favorite children’s books to read to little ones?