Top 10 books for 4 Year Olds

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Written by: Debbie Hatswell

As Master 3 approaches his 4th birthday, I figure now is the time to roll out another Top 10 list… all in the name of birthday research! As with previous Top 10 lists, these are highly subjective, slightly skewed towards the likes of our own children and are not in order of importance!  I do love giving books as a gift… they take up so much less room than toys, and are so much quieter!

Where the Wild Things Are, Maurice Sendak

Naughty child gets sent to bed without any dinner and conjures up an imaginary world of adventure and monsters until he starts to miss home. This is Maurice Sendak’s legacy to children everywhere and has won a bagful of awards.

The monsters in this one aren’t for the squeamish or faint hearted yet seem to have kind faces. The detail in their illustration is particularly amazing. It is a pleasure to read aloud and we love the message that home amongst those who love you is really best.

 

The Game of Shadows by Herve Tullet

The Gist
By the creator of the bestselling Press Here, Herve Tullet has come up with another winner. With a grown-up’s help in the dark, use a torch and go on a fantastic adventure of shadows. 

Story Mama Quick Review:

We have a love/ hate relationship with this book. Master 3 fell in love with it the minute he got his hands on it. The first 6 or so airings were fun. Getting woken up with it before the sun was up to read again was not so much. Rarely have I seen him so engaged in a book. It beats my terrible hand puppet shapes on the wall any day. Suitable for ages 3-6

 

Pete the Cat, I Love My White Shoes by Eric Litwin & James Dean


In this New York Times bestseller, Pete the Cat goes walking down the street wearing his brand new white shoes. Along the way, his shoes change from white to red to blue to brown to WET as we steps in piles of strawberries, blueberries and other big messes! But no matter what colour his shoes are, Pete keeps movin' and groovin' and singing his song...because it's all good.

There is a great back-story behind this book; it was a self publishing success that became a New York Times bestseller.  The character Pete is based on the cat the illustrator adopted from a shelter.  Pete is an optimistic, resilient cat with a great attitude.  Pete is a very cool cat and this is fun read aloud for ages 3-7.

A Sick Day for Amos McGee, by Philip C Stead


Amos McGee, the friendly zookeeper, always makes time to visit his good friends, the elephant, the tortoise, the penguin, the rhinoceros and the owl. But one day – Ah-choo!!- he wakes up with the sniffles and sneezes. He doesn’t make it to the zoo that day, but he does receive some unexpected guests.

Awards:

  • Caldecott Medal Winner (USA) 2011
  • 2011 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year (USA)
  • NYPL Book for Reading and Sharing (USA)

This is a delightful story about a kindly zookeeper whose animals come to take care of him for a day. Card playing elephants, owls who are afraid of the dark, a random red balloon – there are some truly lovely moments in this one. Erin Stead’s woodblock illustrations are really pretty.

Room on the Broom, by Julia Donaldson

The witch and her cat fly happily over forests, rivers and mountains on their broomstick until a stormy wind blows away the witch's hat, bow and wand. They are retrieved by a dog, a bird and a frog, and each animal asks for a ride on the broom. One after the next climbs on, until the broom is so heavy that it snaps in two! What will happen next as they tumble into a bog and meet a greedy dragon?

Not for the feint hearted, this rhyming rollicking tale is great fun to read aloud. As long as your little one has no fear of storms, witches, or dragons they will love this tale of a goofy old witch as she and her animal friends out-smart the dragon

Starting School by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker

Starting School by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker


Tim, Hannah, Sunita, Joe and Polly are all off to school for the first time.  Would you like to meet them and see how they go?  There are new friends to make, fun ways to learn, and lots of different things to discover.

From Jane Godwin and Anna Walker comes this beautiful book focusing on the experiences and feelings of five very different children as they begin at school for the first time.

Jane's simple words and ideas combine with Anna's gentle and detailed illustrations to help children feel comfortable about taking this big step.

Awards:

  • CBCA Notable book Early Childhood 2014
  • Speech Pathology Australia Book of the Year shortlist (ages 3-5) 2014

Story Mama Quick Review:

This children's picture book captures Australian school life perfectly, right down to getting your hair pulled and playing on the monkey bars. A fantastic tool to introduce boys or girls to the idea of school.  Every house with a child starting school needs this one. We also read it all aloud together all through Prep and Grade 1. Perfect for kids age 4-7

The Tiger Who Came to Tea, by Judith Kerr

This classic story of Sophie and her extraordinary tea-time guest has been loved by millions of children since it was first published over 30 years ago and has sold more than a million copies.

The doorbell rings just as Sophie and her mummy are sitting down to tea. Who could it possibly be? What they certainly don't expect to see at the door is a big furry, stripy tiger! This modern classic picture book is perfect for reading aloud, or for small children to read to themselves time and again.

This is a classic story enjoyed by generations. Its old fashioned UK setting with milkmen, grocer deliveries by bicycle and fathers that wear hats add a touch of nostalgia. This is a great book to read aloud with just the right touch of sillyness.

Elmer by David McKee

Elmer the patchwork elephant proves it’s ok to be different. This book is published in 20+ languages and has sold over 2 million copies. It’s the first in the Elmer Series.

Elmer learns an important life lesson and is a bit of a practical joker which makes this one a favourite in our house. Your child will love shouting out “Boo!” along with Elmer.

 

I Want My Hat Back, by Jon Klassen

The bear s hat is gone, and he wants it back. Patiently and politely, he asks the animals he comes across, one by one, whether they have seen it. Each animal says no, some more elaborately than others. But just as it he begins to lose hope, lying flat on his back in despair, a deer comes by and asks a rather obvious question that suddenly sparks the bear ‘s memory and renews his search with a vengeance.

A fib telling rabbit and a fib telling rabbit eating bear make this a fun story to read aloud. It’s quirky and witty and will amuse adults as much as it will kids. The New York Times described this as one of the “10 Best Illustrated Children’s books for 2011”

The Very Cranky Bear by Nick Bland

In the Jingle Jangle Jungle on a wet and windy day, four little friends meet up with a VERY CRANKY BEAR. Moose had marvellous antlers and Lion, a golden mane. Zebra had fantastic stripes and Sheep . . . well, Sheep was plain. They all think they know how to cheer him up.  It’s plain boring sheep that has the answer.

Vibrant illustrations and a fun, engaging story make this book perfect for reading aloud.

This is a multiple Australian award winner and is full of rhyming fun and card playing animals.  Their antics as they try to dress up the Cranky Bear to lighten his mood are highly amusing.  A great read aloud story for little animal lovers or those with Cranky and sleep deprived parents! 

 

So that’s it, our top 10 for 4 year olds. Do you have a favourite we have missed? If so, we would love to hear what they were! Tell us – what was your 4 year olds favourite story?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last update: Aug 30, 2017

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