“Will you read me this book?” Oh, that one sentence is a symphony to my ears. Each year, I get to reflect on my son’s favorite books and share them with you. So, as we approach my big guy’s 5th birthday, I’m excited to share his picks for the best books for 4 year-olds with you.
As I started to prepare this list, I noticed some things about the reading taste and habits of 4 year-olds.
- They still love picture books and prefer books that make them think and broaden their horizons.
- Many 4 year-olds are ready to listen to chapter book read-alouds.
- Preschoolers love to ask questions and hypothesize answers.
- Repetition is still key. They love to return to favorite books over and over.
We hope that your 4-5 year-old will love each of these titles as much as we have.
BEST BOOKS FOR 4-5 YEAR-OLDS
If I Built a Houseby Chris Van Dusen has spurred huge remodeling plans in our house. Almost daily, my son shares his grand drawings and ideas for knocking down walls in our home.
I love that this book inspires kids to dream big and think creatively. Imagine a house with an entire room dedicated to a fish tank. Or, a kitchen that will make whatever dish you can think of each day. Those are just some of the fun things you will find in this book. We also enjoyed Van Dusen’s If I Built a Car.
Land Shark by Beth Ferry is a new favorite since it was just released in August. Most kids would be super excited to get a puppy for their birthday. But, Bobby really had his heart set on a shark so he is pretty disappointed when the new puppy arrives. Will Bobby grow to love his new puppy?
One of my son’s favorite authors this year was Bob Staake. I think it is so cool that he can find a book in the library and recognize the illustrations being Staake’s work. It was hard to pick just one of his books for this list, but we are going with The Red Lemon. Farmer McPhee loves his prized yellow lemons. One day he discovers a red lemon tree and immediately assumes that it is awful and not worthy of being in his grove. So, he tosses it away. Fast forward 200 years and McPhee’s farm is now a pile of weeds. On another island is a flourishing community complete with red lemon trees. My son wanted me to make sure that I included Bluebirdby Staake in this list too.
Shifty McGifty by Tracey Corderoy is the story of two burglars who aren’t the best at their chosen profession. They end up deciding on a “sweet” career alternative after several mishaps of being a burglar.
Rufus the Writer by Elizabeth Bram is also a new book from 2015. This is a great book to motivate young children to write and share their writing. My son was even inspired to set-up his own book stand outside of our house.
The Book Boat’s In by Cynthia Cotten is another delightful book that celebrates books. Imagine living in a community where a book boat sails into town each week. One little boy has his heart set on a copy of a certain book and works for a week to earn enough money to buy it. Will the book still be there when he returns?
I loved the James Herriot’s Treasury for Children just as much as my son did. This collection is full of warm and wholesome stories. My son learned about love, loyalty, friendship and more from this book. The audio version is also delightful.
Farewell to Shady Glade by Bill Peet is the tale of a group of animals driven from their home due to construction and deforestation. The animals travel on top of a train across various landscapes until they land in their new home.
You Choose by Nick Sharrat is one of those books that both of my kids come back to over and over again. On each page, there are lots of pictures and the kids get to pick which ones they would want. For example, one pages asks where you would want to live. Just a few of the choices include the beach, rainforest, rural, urban, etc. Each time the kids interact with the book they can create a new story. It is so much fun!
The Wartville Wizard by Don Madden is one I’ve mentioned before on our Earth Day book list. It even inspired us to create this recycled writing center. It’s a book with a great message of taking care of our planet.
Each night I read a chapter to my son in bed. It is our nightly ritual. Picking chapter book read-alouds for young listeners can be a bit challenging. I recently wrote a guest post on This Reading Mama sharing some tips for picking books and some of our favorites. I’d also like to include our two most recent favorites too. Socksby Beverly Cleary and Dominic by William Steig.
Printable List of Best Books for a 4-Year-Old
Grab a printable list of the books shared above. Just click the green “get your printable” button below to download.
So fill your 4 year-old’s ears with beautiful read-alouds this year!