Best Books for 4 Year Olds: How they interact with books at this age
We’ve got 7 books for 4 year olds we’re eager to get in front of them! According to Nemours Kids Health, children in this age range are able to listen to longer books read to them, look at books on their own, re-tell a story you read often, recognize words that rhyme, and even understand that print is read from left to right, top to bottom! Plus, it’s a great opportunity to bond with your child and get in some much needed cuddle time. With that being said, let’s get started!
1. Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons
The optimism in this book is contagious! Pete’s buttons keep popping off his shirt and instead of being frustrated, he sings, ‘buttons come and buttons go.’ It’s nice to find books for 4 year olds that model ways to handle emotions. It is also a creative way to introduce subtraction.
Ask your preschooler how they would feel if their buttons kept popping off of their shirt.
Then ask them how Pete felt when his buttons kept popping off of his shirt.
If this book isn’t capturing your little one’s attention, we have a pro tip below that should do the trick!
2. Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes
If your preschooler likes singing while reading, this book is for them! Pete keeps stepping on things that change the color of his shoes but instead of crying, he sings. This is one of my favorite books for 4 year olds to reinforce colors!
Ask your preschooler how they would feel if their shoes got dirty because they stepped in mud?
Then ask how Pete reacted when he stepped in mud.
Check the pro-tip section below to find a way to enhance this Pete the Cat experience!
3. Chicka Chicka Boom Boom
This is one of those rhyming books for 4 year olds with quite the beat! What a creative way to use the letters of the alphabets as the main characters in a story. Ask your 4 year old to snap, clap or tap a drum while you read.
Ask your preschooler what their favorite letter is.
Ask them what letter their name starts with.
4. The Snowy Day
A young boy goes for a walk on newly fallen snow. We follow his adventures as he crunches through the snow, has a snowball fights and saves a snowball for later. Growing up, I remember reading this book because it featured someone who looked like me.
Ask your preschooler how they would have fun on a snowy day.
If you live near the beach and never experience snow, ask your child to identify what adventures Peter could go on, at the beach.
Check out the pro tips below on a nice way to introduce your 4 year old to this story that the whole family is sure to enjoy.
5. Whistle for Willie
The same young boy (Peter) from The Snowy Day is trying to learn to whistle. We follow him exploring outdoors and trying his very best to whistle so his dog would be surprised.
Try practicing whistling with your preschooler.
Ask your child to mimic the different ways they have seen others whistle.
This story does a nice job of showcasing the rewards that come from practicing! That lesson alone makes it one of our favorite books for 4 year olds.
6. Giraffes Can’t Dance
Another one of those rhyming books for 4 year olds!
This one explores emotions one might feel when they are made fun of, PLUS highlights the unique qualities each of us brings to the table.
It also touches on how a talking to a friend can change your perspective…for the better.
Definitely one of the must-read books for 4 year olds.
7. We Don’t Eat Our Classmates
This is one of the best books for 4 year olds because it is relatable. The story describes first day of school jitters; explores getting along with others at school, and empathy.
The main character is a dinosaur and her antics will elicit a chuckle or two from your preschooler!
Ask your preschooler how they would make friends at school.
Ask your child how they would feel going to a new school.
The illustrations are fantastic and if your 4 year old loves dinosaurs, they will really enjoy following the adventures of Penelope Rex.
- Don’t give away the books you read to your preschooler when they were younger. At age 4, they might start reading those books to you! Time to bring back some of the classics–Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See and Goodnight Moon!
- Feel guilty about your preschooler being in front of a screen? But need to take a shower and have them stay in one place? Here’s a compromise you might be happy with:
- On YouTube there is a preschool class (SCOPE Preschool) re-enacting Pete the Cat and His Four Groovy Buttons and Pete the Cat: I Love My White Shoes. The Ezra Jack Keats Foundation has a beautifully animated reading of One Snowy Day, as well.
Final Thoughts on Top Books for 4 Year Olds
By now you’re quite familiar with the benefits of reading to children, especially preschool age and younger. But it can be overwhelming finding great books for 4 year olds.
We’ve shared 7 of our favorite books for 4 year olds and we’re confident your child will find at least one they love out of the bunch.
We’ve featured books that explore situations where kids might feel frustrated, nervous, or insecure. The main characters in this book do a lovely job showing how they react to those situations and it’s a great jumping off point for you to continue those conversations with your child. E.g. what would you do if this <describe situation> happened to you?
A handful of these books have some sort of rhythm associated with them, so take advantage and clap and stomp your way through the story!
However your choose to introduce your child to these and other wonderful books out there, know that you are doing a remarkable job helping improve their language skills and cognitive development. Bravo!