Are you on the hunt for the best books for 4-year-olds? As we all know, four is a pretty fun and interesting age for a growing child. It’s a highly developmental time when your kiddo’s interests are evolving in big ways — and this applies to almost everything, from their toys of choice to the food they love and books they prefer to read.
Most kids at this age are becoming independent readers while others still prefer to be read to. Their love for board books is probably waning but they are not yet able to power through longer picture or chapter books with more complex words.
The best books for 4-year-olds should be fun to read out loud, educational, and packed with subtle elements that stimulate your little one’s love of reading as they transition into preschool life. Therefore, your child’s bookshelf should star a lovely mix of bedtime stories, early chapter books, and other preschool-level classics.
There’s a good chance that your four-year-old kiddo is developing new social bonds, coping with separation anxiety, and striking interesting emotional interactions with other children in preschool or daycare. That means must-have books for 4-year-olds should lean towards friendships, empathy, and reflect their emotional feelings.
To fuel your child’s passion for reading, here are the 30 best books for 4-year-olds. Everyone in this age group will enjoy these books, whether reading alone, reading with a little help, or being read to by you. They are also stimulating and engaging both rhythmically and visually, so your kid will love to read them over and over again.
1- Lucy and Company by Marianne Dubuc
Lucy and Company
13 used from $3.46
|Number Of Pages||56|
If you’re looking for easy-to-read books for 4-year-olds to ease your child into the world of longer chapter books, then you won’t go wrong with Marianne Dubuc’s Lucy and Company. This early chapter book actually contains three engrossing short stories about, you guessed it, a little girl named Lucy and her 4 lovely animal companions. There’s Adrian the snail, Dot the turtle, Henry the rabbit, and Marcel the mouse.
Marianne Dubuc strikes just the right balance between hilarious and sweet, cozy and zany. Each chapter of the book follows the friends’ everyday adventures, from looking for a new place for newly-hatched chicks and a chaotic picnic to a party bash and much more in between. If your little one is a fan of Winnie Pooh’s honeyed adventures, then she’ll flip over this one, as well.
2- How to Babysit a Grandpa by Jean Reagan
How to Babysit a Grandpa
$8.00 in stock
127 used from $1.39
|Number Of Pages||32|
Does your child love to spend time with grandpa, grandma, or both? If so, Jean Reagan’s How to Babysit a Grandma and How to Babysit a Grandpa are a must-have in your child’s home library. These highly-recommended books for 4-year-olds answer all the questions kids might have when it comes to babysitting their grandparents.
Illustrated by the 2013 Red House Children’s Book Award winner Lee Wildish, these New York Times bestsellers are funny, fun to read out loud, and cute books. They are written in a how-to form with chirpy text, making them perfect for little ones who love to look after their grandmas and grandpas. Admittedly, they are also an excellent choice for parents who often leave their youngsters in charge of entertaining or caring for their grandparents.
3- Super Happy Magic Forest by Matty Long
Super Happy Magic Forest
$14.93 in stock
23 used from $5.27
|Number Of Pages||32|
Best for parents who like classic literature and for kids who love superhero adventures, Matty Long’s Super Happy Magic Forest is undoubtedly one of the best books for 4-year-olds right now. It’s more a large-format comic strip rather than a children’s book, which makes it even more exciting for curious tots.
The book takes a somewhat cartoonish take on kids’ favorite superhero comics. There are a lot of quirky adventures and hilarious gags for the little ones and equally plenty of humorous anecdotes for the adults. The stories are not only visually appealing but also stimulating and fun to read, making it easy for young readers to digest the book on their own.
4- Bea Garcia Series by Deborah Zemke
|Is Adult Product|
Bea Garcia is a four-book series by the famous doodler, illustrator, and author Deborah Zemke. The debut book in the series — My Life in Pictures — introduces us to the story of a young and upcoming artist named Bea Garcia; she’s ambitious, empathetic, and has a very big heart. Other titles in the series include The Curse of Einstein’s Pencil, Tale of a Scaredy-Dog, and The Tree and Me. They’re all great books for 4-year-olds learning to embrace kids from all walks of life and races.
The series features Garcia’s many relatable happenings, from striking new friendships to competing in contests at school and looking for her lost dog. Big fans of Megan McDonald’s Judy Moody and Marissa Moss’s Amelia’s Notebook will appreciate this series about friendship. It’s bursting at the seams with lovely pictures and doodles.
5- Lift the flap: Fairy Tales by Roger Priddy
Lift the Flap: Fairy Tales (Can You Find Me?)
$7.99 in stock
20 used from $2.05
Lift the flap: Fairy Tales is an enchanting and incredibly fun book to read, as the children will love to lift the flap and find a surprise underneath. Even though it’s written to appeal to kids of all ages, the gorgeous illustrations by Roger Priddy make this fairy tale one of the best books for four-year-olds.
From one page to the next, kids will be captivated by the beautifully-illustrated hide-and-seek scenes. Each scene boasts a rhyming welcome that invites children to find out which character lies underneath each flap. They will surely love the large, fold-out in the end that shows all the fairy tale creatures living happily together.
6- Corduroy by Don Freeman
Corduroy (40th Anniversary Edition)
$15.69 in stock
64 used from $1.27
- Viking Children s Books
Don Freeman’s classic tale of Corduroy is one that should never miss on your child’s bookshelf. You loved it as a child, and your kiddo will love it too. Although it has been one of the best books for 4-year-olds since it was first published in 1968, the heartwarming story and stunning illustrations make a winner across the age spectrum.
The sweet tale of Corduroy roaming an empty shopping center dead in the night teaches youngsters about the comfort of home, love for one another, and friendship. Well, there’s also something beautiful about following a teddy bear on his search for a lost button across the mall. This 40th-anniversary edition is even more stunning with beautifully-rendered illustrations.
7- Hair Love by Matthew A. Cherry
$6.90 in stock
28 used from $2.84
|Number Of Pages||32|
Authored by the Academy-Award winning director Matthew A. Cherry (also a former NFL football player) and illustrated by Vashti Harrison, Hair Love is nothing short of impressive. It graciously journals the beautiful father-daughter relationship, as well as African American experiences. The love between father and daughter can’t get better than this.
When Zuri’s mother is away from home, it is up to the father to style her daughter’s dazzling natural curly hair. After multiple hilarious fails, the duo finally stumbled upon a new gorgeous hairstyle. Their funny attempts to crack the hairstyling code will surely crack you and your little one up. Use this opportunity to take some time and slow down to reflect on your love for one another.
8- My Lucky Day by Keiko Kasza
My Lucky Day
89 used from $1.39
- Puffin Books
Keiko Kasza’s My Lucky Day is a well-written and immaculately-illustrated early chapter book that your kiddo shouldn’t miss. According to preschool teachers, it’s one of the perfect books for 4-year-olds, though every kid from ages 3 to 6 will thoroughly enjoy it, too!
This book walks us through the heartfelt story of a young piglet that almost became fox’s dinner. When the piglet accidentally knocks on the reynard’s door, the fox thinks he has landed an easy meal. The piglet had a few tricks up his sleeves.
Not only does the piglet find his way out of danger but also manages to talk his way into a delicious meal, a nice bath, and a massage to boot. What a lucky piglet! The illustrations are wonderful, while the story itself is quite catchy.
9- Peppa Pig: First Science by Pig Peppa
Peppa: First Science (Peppa Pig)
7 used from $6.88
|Is Adult Product|
|Number Of Pages||24|
If you wish to introduce your youngster to the fascinating world of science, we’ve got the perfect book to add to your children’s book collection. Peppa Pig: First Science is a highly hands-on activity book that features kids’ favorite character, Peppa Pig.
We love how this book uses simple words and familiar objects to spark curiosity in growing minds. It’s a must-have book for 4-year-olds who are just getting the hang of preschool. Your child will join Peppa Pig and her friends as they immerse themselves in the marvelous world of science.
With pop-out cards, exciting experiments, and lots of activities, this intro book is an ideal read for budding scientists. Be sure to check out other books in the Learn with Peppa series.
10- The Kissing Hand by Audrey Penn
The Kissing Hand (The Kissing Hand Series)
$11.70 in stock
200 used from $0.94
- Tanglewood Press
Yup, it’s the first day of school in the forest, but Chester the Raccoon is not too keen on going. Thankfully, Mrs. Raccoon has one soothing family secret to pass down to her anxious little one: the Kissing Hand. This will reassure Chester of her mom’s love and protection whenever he’s scared or overwhelmed. After all, what could be more reassuring than a mother’s love?
Audrey Penn’s The Kissing Hand has become something of a cult favorite ever since it was originally published nearly three decades ago. This kids’ classic has aided millions of parents, teachers, and children when dealing with separation anxiety. It’s a soothing and reassuring book, especially when starting preschool, going to daycare, or away to camp.
Chester the Raccoon goes on to have other kiss-worthy moments in A Kiss Goodbye (2007), A Pocket Full of Kisses (2006), A Bedtime Kiss for Chester Raccoon (2011), and Chester the Brave (2012). Part of the beloved The Kissing Hand series illustrated by Ruth Harper and Barbara Gibson, they’re all great books for 4-year-olds.
11- A Giraffe and a Half by Shel Silverstein
Four-year-olds will love Shel Silverstein’s A Giraffe and a Half, and for good reason. First of all, the book features odd-looking yet hilarious and entertaining illustrations done by Shel, the New York Times bestselling creator. There’s also the idea of a young child being given a series of bizarre toys, including the famed giraffe.
What makes this one of the best books for 4-year-olds, however, is its ballooning tongue twisters that will leave you and your little one breathless by the time you reach the final page. That’s the real thrill that makes A Giraffe and a Half a crowd-pleaser.
12- Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss
Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss has sold more than eight million copies across the world, and it’s not difficult to see why. We all have a soft spot for all things Dr. Seuss. Well, try as you may, but you can’t resist this children’s classic by the rhyming master, Dr. Seuss.
It’s about Sam-I-Am and, you guessed it, his ham and odd-looking green eggs. This quirky book for 4-year-olds is not only fun and easy to read but also jam-packed with Dr. Seuss’ signature rhyming text. This masterwork is still as enjoyable as it was the first time you read it out loud!
13- Little World: To the Moon by Allison Black
Allison Black’s Little World series boasts some of the most helpful books for 4-year-olds, especially those who have started attending preschool. Created in partnership with lunar experts, Little World: To the Moon ships budding astronauts into the fascinating outer space.
With this interactive book, preschoolers can truly explore the basic sounds, sights, and experiences of being on the rocky surface of the Moon. The young curious minds will love playing with the interactive pull and push slides that pop up on each page, welcoming them to uncover something new about the moon.
Subsequent titles in the Little World series explore other faraway places and familiar landscapes, from the roaring jungles and megacities to the undersea and outer space.
14- Corduroy by Don Freeman
For any child who has ever dreamt of being left alone in a shopping mall filled with all kinds of department stores, Don Freeman’s classic Corduroy is a must-have book. It’s as fun today as it was when you read it as a kid. There’ll be a few chuckles and laughs as you follow this cute teddy bear on his adventurous search for the missing button.
This adorable picture storybook has multiple lessons on resilience, friendship, and finding comfort in oneself. If this sounds like something you’d want to instill in your kid, then don’t hesitate to grab this one.
15- Sparky! by Jenny Offill
How about a book featuring a lazy sloth? If your child has outgrown shorter picture books but not yet enough able to sit through a whole chapter book, then you may find Jenny Offill’s Sparky! to be a good fit for your little one.
Illustrated by Chris Appelhans, this book highlights the story of a young girl trying every means to excite her lazy pet friend, the sloth. Sparky! has a touch of humor and wows with stunning illustrations. It makes for an excellent lesson on self-actualization and accepting others for who they are.
16- The Invisible Alphabet by Joshua David Stein
Introduce your little one to the alphabet stylishly and memorably. Joshua David Stein’s The Invisible Alphabet will help your curious reader not only improve his vocabulary but also learn the alphabet.
You will love Stein’s delightfully unique twist on the ABC’s. Thanks to its beautiful illustrations and rhyming text, this book is designed to make your kid curious and strike up conversations and spark creativity. It’s sure to mesmerize and appeal to even the most reserved child. That’s why it comes as no surprise that the title has been voted one of the best books for 4-year-olds.
17- The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson
Imagine being able to travel the world and visit thousands of faraway destinations without spending a penny! Julia Donaldson’s The Snail and the Whale is a great book for 4-year-olds who have developed a sense of wanderlust.
It’s a tale of an incredible friendship between a large humpback whale and a small sea snail with big dreams of exploring the world. Lucky for the tiny snail, she finds a whale who is more than happy to help her voyage around the world.
The duo has a blast visiting some of the most stunning places in the world, but one day the whale gets stuck after swimming dangerously close to the shore. Now it’s up to the small snail to reciprocate and save her best friend. Does she have what it takes to rescue the whale?
18- The Not So Quiet Library by Zachariah O’Hora
Every Saturday, Oskar, Theodore (aka Teddy), and their father eat delicious donuts for breakfast and then head to their local library for many quiet hours of reading. But this is not their usual Saturday. It’s a not so quiet Saturday in which they are rudely disturbed by a five-header, hungry monster.
Will Teddy ever be going to savor his scrumptious donuts? Will his brother Oskar be able to complete his favorite read in peace? Or do they know the secret weapon to tame the monster? Your kiddo will love The Not So Quiet Library; it’s a quirky and adorable read which has been rated among the most characterful books for 4-year-olds.
19- Red: A Crayon’s Story by Michael Hall
Children at the age of four are on the cusp of self-discovery and a little reassurance can go a long way. Red: A Crayon’s Story is a colorful, insightful, and hilarious story of a blue crayon wrongly labeled as “red.” This masterpiece comes from the New York Times bestselling author Michael Hall; also the creator of other highly successful books for 4-year-olds, including It’s an Orange Aardvark and My Heart is Like a Zoo.
Despite trying hard to be Red, the crayon is still essentially blue, plunging him into an identity crisis. It’s only after he gains a new perspective with the help of a friend that Red can let his true colors shine through. This book teaches young readers about the power of staying true to their inner selves and following their own paths no matter what.
20- The Monster at the End of This Book by Jon Stone
Preschool-age children get easily scared by the monsters, the mysterious, and other-worldly creatures. That’s exactly what makes Jon Stone’s The Monster at the End of This Book one of the most compelling books for 4-year-olds and other preschoolers.
Children will love acting as the force constantly urging Grover to turn the page towards the frightening monster. The frame-worthy and characterful illustrations by Michael Smollin help bring Grover’s epic freak-outs to life. This would make a fabulous Halloween read for the entire family, too.
21- Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World by Kate Pankhurst
Now, Kate Pankhurst’s Fantastically Great Women Who Changed the World may not be the first title that comes to mind when people talk about the best books for 4-year-olds. But this activity book has everything you need to create an inspired reader – it has 200+ fun stickers and absolutely inspiring activities that’ll appeal to young curious minds.
This book walks your kid through the background stories of some of the most famous, world-changing women, including Coco Chanel, Rosa Parks, Frida Kahlo, and Emmeline Pankhurst. The impressive art adds a touch of fun to an otherwise serious topic.
22- Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry
Over the years, Richard Scarry has authored some of the most thought-provoking books for four-year-olds, and Richard Scarry’s What Do People Do All Day? really delivers on this promise. It poses a question that most kids might ask at one point: what do adults do all day?
Be warned, though — Richard Scarry’s books are known to offer up a lot of information for young readers and may encourage them to ask a barrage of questions. Your kid will read this one over and over again, discovering something new each time.
23- Pink Is For Boys by Robb Pearlman
Gender and racial stereotypes have become a hot-button issue in today’s society, which is why it’s crucial to introduce your child to tolerance at a tender age. Pink Is For Boys by Robb Pearlman is ranked among the most empowering books for 4-year-olds.
The message in the book is clear: pink isn’t just a feminine color; it’s for everyone. And, by the same token, liking unicorns, racing cards, playing dress-up, and baseball are for everybody. As such, this gem helps restructure gender stereotypes for your little one using elegant watercolor illustrations.
24- The World of Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne
The age of 4 is an ideal time for a child to dive into evergreen chapter books. That’s because classics have been tried and found to be engaging enough to sustain a kiddo’s interest. The loose nature of their narrative also makes it easy for a young reader to take inevitable breaks.
That being said, A.A. Milne’s The World of Winnie the Pooh is one of the best classic chapter books for 4-year-olds. It is packed with chaos, love, and wacky adventures yet it’s refreshingly gentle and filled with lovable characters that your child will remember for decades.
25- Tickle Monster by Josie Bissett
Jam-packed with humor, love, and inspiration, Tickle Monster is a charming book for any 4-year-old. Josie Bissett’s somewhat silly and fast-paced story coupled with the tickle concept makes a lasting positive impression on both parents and children.
At its cores, this book tells moms and dads to tickle their little ones. It may be difficult to tickle your kiddo while reading this delightful book, but the chuckles, laughter, and bonding moments are simply worth your while. The storytime with your preschooler will never be the same again!
26- The Ultimate Book of Cities by Anne-Sophie Baumann
Interactive chapter or picture books are a clear winner with most preschoolers, and this one by Anne-Sophie Baumann has it all. It sports fun and interactive sliders, flaps, and world-class pop-up architectural objects.
If you’re looking for wow-inspiring books for 4-year-olds interested in architecture and city structures, look no further. The Ultimate Book of Cities is a superbly-written and well-illustrated (by Didier Balicevic) book that will keep your child engaged for hours and hours. Your kiddo will love learning all about neighborhoods, city planning, and different people that work, play and live in the big cities.
27- The Family Book by Todd Parr
For those parents looking to teach kids about family love, tolerance, and celebrating our differences, Todd Parr’s The Family Book will perfectly fit the bill. Traditional families, families with same-sex parents, single-parent families, stepfamilies, and families with adopted children – all are featured in this book in an accepting, silly, and a rather playful way.
With Todd Parr’s signature bright-colored illustrations, hilarious scenes, and colorful characters, this is easily one of the best modern children’s books for 4-year-olds, especially those who have just begun to read on their own. It teaches them to ask questions pertaining to their families.
28- Diary of a Worm by Doreen Cronin
A #1 New York Times bestseller created by the illustrator-author duo of Harry Bliss and Doreen Cronin, Diary of a Worm is a delightful, intriguing, and hilarious story of a young worm. It’s delivered in a diary form, journaling the differences he notes between being a human and being a worm.
Although the worm is all about having fun and caring for the planet, he complains that he’s not able to chew gum, get a birthday party, or have pets as humans do. Soon, he’s relieved to know that he doesn’t have to take baths or go to a dentist. Most preschoolers can relate to that, which makes this one of the most sought-after books for 4-year-olds.
29- The Sea Book by Charlotte Milner
Are you raising an aspiring naval explorer? If so, then your budding seafarer will drool over The Sea Book by Charlotte Milner. It’s a fun, engrossing, and highly informative book about life under the ocean.
We love how the gorgeous illustrations work well with the fun facts to deliver the urgent message about plastic pollution and marine conservation. It’s a lovely follow-up to Milner’s The Bee Book for the future apiarists. Both of them are perfect books for any 4-year-old.
30- How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? by Jane Yolen and Mark Teague
Your preschooler has probably outgrown Goodnight Moon, so this title from Mark Teague and Jane Yolen tag team will be a perfect replacement. How Do Dinosaurs Say Goodnight? Is a bedtime classic that morphs kiddos into dinos and helps those who can’t seem to sleep to borrow a few leaves from the adventures of pterodactyls and T. Rexes.
The book has some interactive questions that make it a fun and soothing read. More than that, the rhythmic text and brevity of the story make it a snappy bedtime book for 4-year-olds.