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Books For 4 Year Olds

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Recommended Children’s Books For Children Age 4

Looking for book recommendations for 4-year-olds? Welcome to our handpicked collection of the best books for children aged 4.

We’ve carefully chosen these great books for four-year-olds, to guide parents, teachers, and those searching for quality reading lists for young children. Our reviewed and curated book list covers a variety of genres and themes and is selected with the help of a Review Panel of teachers, educators and children’s reading experts.

Whether you’re seeking laugh-out-loud stories, favourite characters, gentle picturebooks or bedtime stories, our booklist for four year olds aims to simplify the process of finding the perfect story books for your 4-year-old. Featuring all-time classics like Elmer and The Tiger Who Came to Tea, action-packed adventure stories like Supermouse and the Volcano of Doom and popular funny books like Aliens Love Underpants, we’ve covered all tastes in our top 20 picks of recommended story books for 4-year-olds.

For more comprehensive booklists, browse our lists of 50 Best Books for Preschool or 50 Best Books for Reception

Browse our recommendations for age 4 children and make storytime an enjoyable and enriching part of your child’s journey into the world of books.

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Popular Picturebooks for 4 year olds

Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet
Picturebook

In every Reception or Infant class, you’ll find fans of Supertato and his hilarious crew of vegetable friends (not forgetting his nemesis, Evil Pea).

Written by husband and wife team Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet, the books are enjoyed by readers who like a high dose of action and hilarious characters who mean business.

This is a tremendously popular story that has now been developed into a series of books and a TV show. It tells the funny tale of Supertato, the unlikely superhero who is on a mission to protect the other vegetables from the Evil Pea. A laugh-out-loud story that children want to hear again and again.

Nick Sharratt
Picturebook

This is the ultimate rhyming story book for preschool, by the much-loved illustrator Nick Sharratt.

Timothy Pope heads to the park with his telescope, but when he looks down it and is sure he sees a shark, we soon learn that things are not always as they seem! There are flaps and die-cut holes to explore, making this a memorable interactive story choice.

The repeated refrains of Timothy Pope, Timothy Pope, what can you see through your telescope? and ‘Is there a shark in the park?’ are remarkably catchy and will quickly have children joining in. A really fun must-read book for EYFS children!

 

Claire Freedman
 & Ben Cort
Picturebook

This laugh-out-loud favourite continues to be a popular rhyming book for Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) children, with its whimsical narrative, catchy rhymes and humorous storyline (pants AND space aliens – what’s not to love?).

The playful text and super fun illustrations by Ben Cort capture the imagination of young readers, while the rhythmic flow and repetition make it hard to resist joining in. All in all an absolute essential for delighting young children at storytime.

 

Kes Gray
 & Nick Sharratt
Picturebook

We love the Daisy books! Eat Your Peas is one of the earlier picture books featuring the much-loved character Daisy, who now also stars in her own series of illustrated chapter books too.

This story introduces younger children to the popular character and many readers will relate to the scenario Daisy faces when she finds herself with a plate of peas in front of her at dinnertime. The story features a repeated refrain of “I Don’t Like Peas” – which children love to join in with – and readers will adore the escalating promises Mum makes to try to tempt Daisy to eat her veg.  The close-up illustrations of facial expressions help preschool children to interpret and understand character emotions, and the additional pea-themed details to spot throughout the pages are so much fun too (look out for Mum’s necklace and earrings!).

 

Katie Abey
Picturebook

A popular transport-themed book with oodles of funny things for children to spot and choose between.

Each page is themed around a different type of transport, from busses and trucks to emergency vehicles and rockets, and displays an array of different cartoon examples, while the reader is asked to choose which one they would ride. Added details make the act of choosing on each page really fun. On the trains page, for example, a steam train is filled with animals eating spaghetti and donuts, while an Elf Express is taking Lego to Santa’s workshop and a slick intercity train driven by a sloth ihas a swimming pool carriage but also a wolf disguised in grandma’s clothing.

Children who like ‘You Choose’ style books will enjoy poring over this over and over again, as will transport lovers and fans of funny animal characters. It’s a great book for getting children talking and interacting, or for poring over independently and spotting something new each time.


Best Story Books 4 Year Olds

Alexandra Penfold
 & Suzanne Kaufman
Picturebook

A simple but powerful rhyming picture book that shines a light on the importance of diversity and inclusivity in the classroom.

Right from its opening lines, “Pencils sharpened in their case, Bells are ringing, let’s make haste, School’s beginning, dreams to chase. All are welcome here,” the book exudes an essence of acceptance and unity that strikes a chord as pupils settle into the culture of their new class. The book uses the format of a school day to show how different classmates are equally included, and the repeated refrain of ‘All Are Welcome Here‘ is one that classes could easily adopt as their own motto.

For any school or teacher committed to diversity and inclusion, this is an essential book with a clear message elegantly conveyed through the journey of a group of children as they navigate a day at their school, where the very essence of seeking to make every individual welcome is the thread the runs through all of the pages. Each double page spread comes alive with vibrant depictions of children donning different cultural clothing, all engaged harmoniously in activities in an environment that is intentionally inclusive. This portrayal of a school thriving on shared learning from one another’s traditions is both heartening and thought-provoking.

Anna McQuinn
 & Rosalind Beardshaw
Picturebook

Lulu is going to preschool for the first time. She has visited school before with Mummy, but this time she will go on her own.

She’s excited, but a bit nervous. She gets dressed, packs her bag and makes sure she has her cat Dinah with her. When Lulu gets to school, she quickly settles and makes a friend with Mummy watching close by. When Mummy leaves, Lulu is nervous, but soon finds her way forward on her new adventure.

We highly recommend the Lulu series, which gently reassures preschool children about all sorts of relatable scenarios from getting a pet and planting flowers to starting school and shows them how to tackle new challenges head on.

Matt Carr
Picturebook

Pop follows the story of some corn as it falls from its storage bag into a warm pan. As the pan begins to heat up, the corn kernels can feel something happening to them. Happily, they begin to transform into popcorn. Initially, there is just one piece of popcorn but throughout the book, more popcorn is made until all the corn is popped. The pun-filled story ends with all the popcorn watching a ‘corny’ movie.

This bright and fun story provides a great opportunity to practise basic counting as one piece of corn transforms at a time. The book has the numbers displayed clearly to support children with number recognition. The book has a wonderful rhyming verse that makes it a great read-aloud book. The repeated use of the word Pop throughout means younger children can help read the word themselves and get involved with the storyline.

The bright and engaging illustrations bring to life this interesting story and make this book a joy for younger children to look through and a must-read for Early Years story times.

Emma Chichester Clark
Picturebook

A treasured toy-themed story about a child’s love for their favourite teddy. Lily has always loved her blue kangaroo toy best of all. When she acquires a set of new toys, Lily’s loyalty to Blue Kangaroo is put to the test.

This is a gentle and reassuring story that has been a favourite with Early Years children for decades.

Nicola O'Byrne
Picturebook

For a read-aloud with the extra wow factor, we recommend The Rabbit, The Dark and the Biscuit Tin, guaranteed to produce ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ at storytime.

Any child who has ever tried to prolong bedtime will relate to Rabbit. In a bid to not have to go to bed, Rabbit decides to capture the dark and hide it in a biscuit tin. If it doesn’t get dark, he won’t have to go to sleep! But hiding the dark has knock-on effects, and he hasn’t thought about the nocturnal animals, his body’s need for rest and recovery, or the joy of waking up to a delicious breakfast!

With an impressive fold-out page that we just love, this is one of our go-to story choices for preschool and younger primary children.


Joseph Coelho
 & Fiona Lumbers
Picturebook

Children’s Laureate Joseph Coelho returns with his well-loved character Luna. This time, Luna is exploring the magic of gardening.

Luna is impressed by the community allotment when she visits with her family.  Luna takes time to wonder about each seed she encounters – where in the world it came from and what it will turn into. With the help of Grandpa and Nana from Jamaica, Luna realises that every new seed planted will have its own story to tell.

This is a really beautiful picture book celebrating nature, gardens, community, the interconnectedness of humanity and the importance of stories. Fiona Lumbers’ artwork is stunning, drawing out the elements that most capture a young child’s imagination with an abundance of colour, while also contrasting the vibrancy of the community garden with the grey, surrounding cityscape.

This wonderful picturebook is an essential story for modern classroom and home libraries.

Animal Stories for Children Aged 4

Yuval Zommer
Picturebook

This gorgeous picturebook explores the gentle magic of snow. Young readers who may have only experienced real snow once or twice – or perhaps never – will relate to spring-born friends Fox and Hare, who hear rumours of a thing called snow coming as winter arrives, but need to know what exactly snow is.

Their search takes them on a journey through Zommer’s beautifully illustrated forest scenes to ask a host of animal friends about snow until, at last, they experience the ‘whitest, coldest, fluffiest, sparkliest snow’ for themselves.

Helen Cooper
Picturebook

We can’t get enough of Pumpkin Soup and it is a real story time favourite for Reception and KS1 children.

Cat, Duck and Squirrel are friends who live in an old white cabin, making pumpkin soup together every day. One day, the strength of their relationship is put to the test when duck decides to switch roles and what follows is a compassionate adventure about friendship and belonging.

We adore the warm, vibrant colours of the illustrations, the rich language and captivating storytelling in this autumn-time classic.

Julia Donaldson
 & Lydia Monks
Picturebook

What the Ladybird Heard is a huge favourite amongst preschoolers, parents and teachers. With everything from farm animals and minibeasts to sneaky crooks and fantastic lilting rhymes, this brightly illustrated story from national treasure Julia Donaldson is a clear winner for storytimes in the Early Years.

Young children love joining in the repeated refrains of animal sounds and seeing the plot unfold as the cunning little ladybird saves the day by helping her farmyard friends outsmart two burglars looking to steal the prize cow.

A classroom classic from an author-illustrator dream team.

M. N. Tahl
 & Mark Chambers
Picturebook

A superhero story with a difference…. and lots of cheesy puns! When Supermouse holds auditions in Mouseopolis for The League of Remarkable Rodents, he isn’t sure he has found the best animals for the job. That is until Mount Fondue explodes and cheese covers the town. With Supermouse facing a cheesy end, the League of Remarkable Rodents zoom to the rescue. Will they save their hero or is he truly “fondoomed”?

This book is full of cheesy puns which are laugh-out-loud funny and make this book an enjoyable read for adults and children. Each page features flaps to lift and holes to see more of the story making it an interactive experience. The story is told through speech bubbles and text and is enhanced by great, brightly-coloured illustrations. With just the right amount of peril for our hero and some daring deeds, this has become a firm favourite already.

Classic Books for 4 Year Olds

Judith Kerr
Picturebook

The classic picture book The Tiger Who Came to Tea has brought joy to children and adults for over 50 years.  Author Judith Kerr is said to have written the book based on a bedtime story that she made up for her young daughters.

Sophie is all set for a quiet afternoon with her Mummy. The doorbell rings, and to her surprise there at the door is a big, stripey, furry tiger. The loveable tiger is welcomed in and wreaks a small amount of chaos, eating the food and drinking everything in sight.

The sheer joy of the afternoon tea with the tiger makes for a delightful story and is a crowd-pleasing storytime favourite for preschoolers.

David McKee
Picturebook

Making his first appearance in 1968, Elmer the Patchwork Elephant has been entertaining young readers for decades and remains one of the most iconic and well-known children’s book characters of all time.

The Elmer stories feature a bright and multicoloured main character who inspires readers to embrace inclusivity, connect with friends and find joy in celebrating difference.

A classic book for Reception and Early Years children.

Benedict Blathwayt
Picturebook

When Duffy Driver leaves the brakes off, the Little Red Train sets off down the track without him! Duffy tries everything he can think of to catch up with the train, with a little help from a tractor, some horses, a boat and a helicopter.

An enjoyable story to read over and over again, and preschoolers will enjoy the gently unfolding journey narrative as well as relishing the chance to join in with the train noises and to spot all of the many details on the pages.

Non-Fiction Books for Four Year Olds

DK
Non-fiction
A charming children's encyclopedia that takes you on a journey into the deep blue to discover the wonders of the world's oceans!The world is so much bigger than young minds can fathom and there is always more to learn. My Encyclopedia of Very Important Oceans is a vibrant encyclopedia for curious 5-9 year olds, who want to know everything there is to know about life on and under the waves. Easily accessible to young readers through a balance of striking images and conversational, age-appropriate text, this ocean encyclopedia will tap into every child's natural curiosity and answer all their biggest questions about this amazing world under the water.Bursting with up-to-date facts and discoveries, this exciting kid's encyclopedia includes everything from the spectacular seabirds soaring over Earth's vast oceans, to the tiny creatures lurking on the ocean floor. Dive in and explore forgotten shipwrecks, swim with fabulous fish and other awesome underwater animals, and weave your way through secret deep sea homes. You'll travel back in time to meet plundering pirates, scientists, and explorers who changed the course of history, then it's time to learn about lots of very important underwater jobs and how you can help to protect Earth's precious oceans.
Simon Mole
 & Matt Hunt
Poetry

A substantial hardback (like the Tyrannosaurus!), beautifully illustrated in full colour to inform about and celebrate dinosaurs of all shapes and sizes. The flamingo-pink endpapers are decorated with a riot of dinosaur characters waiting to be discovered. The contents page lists the eight main dinosaurs chosen to be represented in pre-historic poems: an unusual mix of non-fiction and poetry. Followed by ten more in the ‘eat, or be eaten’ section. Then we have a section on the main dinosaur families. We like the handy guide to pronunciation that accompanies each header, eg: her-air-ruh-saw-rus.

There is much to interest both children and adults. We particularly liked learning about the dinosaur timeline, which starts, ‘a really, really, really long time ago…’ and brings us up to date with a double-page about finding fossils.

A rare and interesting specimen of a book, recommended for all dinosaur lovers, to be treasured and read over and over again.

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Guidance: About the Age 4 Reading List

What books are best for 4-year-olds?

The best books to read with 4 year olds are picturebooks, where the words and pictures work together to create meaning and tell the story.  This helps children to kick start their language development ready for school, gain basic comprehension skills and develop an early enjoyment of books.

With 4-year olds, it is best to share books with bright and bold illustrations that complement clear storytelling, like Daisy Eat Your Peas or Julia Donaldson’s What the Ladybird Heard.

At the age of four, children also love books with a memorable story. Many people can fondly remember their favourite picturebooks from their early years – and sometimes off by heart!  From stories with repeated verses to join in with like Nick Sharratt’s Shark In the Park to laugh-out-loud favourites like Aliens Love Underpants, you should choose books that will deliver storytimes to remember with fondness and joy.

What are the most popular picturebook authors and illustrators for 4-year-olds?

Popular authors and illustrators of recommended picturebooks for 4-year-olds include Julia Donaldson, Sue Hendra, Jill Murphy, Caryl Hart, Lydia Monks, Michael Rosen, Nadia Shireen, Kes Gray, Rashmi Sirdeshpande, Oliver Jeffers, Steve Smallman, Nick Sharratt and Dapo Adeola.

The most popular series for 4-year-olds include Supertato, Oi Frog, The Large Family, Blue Kangaroo, Hairy Maclary, Elmer, Paddington, Aliens Love Underpants and Mog the Forgetful Cat.

Where can I purchase the books on the BooksForTopics Best Books for 4-Year-Olds booklist?

Where can I find out about the best new books for 4-year-olds?

Each month we feature our top five Books of the Month, highlighting new titles that our Review Panel recommend for primary school children.

You can also check out the New Books section of our website, or sign up to our mailing list to keep on top of news and reviews from the children’s book world.

What other booklists for 4-Year-Olds are available?

Looking for more of the best booklists for 4-year-olds? BooksForTopics has got you covered!

Here are a few:

 

If you like this booklist, try looking ahead to our list of best books for 5-year-olds.

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