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Baby Toys

Best Books for 4-Year-Olds for an Educational and Fun Read

Last Updated August 13, 2021

By  Janice Warren

It's never too early to get books for your child since books provide some magical adventures for children, even for children who cannot read full sentences independently. When it comes to the availability of the best books for 4-year-olds or preschoolers, there's no shortage of titles as there are plenty of books that will cater to different personalities and interests. However, since four years is more of a transition period where your kid is done with board books but not old enough to read chapter books yet, it might be important to include books that address and celebrate transitioning into preschool.

Finding the best book for your 4-year old can be easy, but since every child has a different interest and there are so many books you can choose from, the choices can be a bit overwhelming. Therefore, we have compiled the best books for 4-year olds from different genres ranging from adventure and mystery to animals to help parents and guardians find the best options for their kids before starting school.

1. My Encyclopedia of Very Important Things

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This is among the best books for 4-year-olds that is a collection of everything interesting and will get you on your way to know it all, being full of colorful illustrations, games, and fun facts for kids to feed their imagination. The kid's encyclopedia is full of age-appropriate knowledge on various topics that go hand-in-hand with the school's curriculum from people, planets, animals, and yourself. The collection book is a perfect blend of lively text, simple and adorable illustrations, and rich photography that was made for you and young readers to read either alone or together.

2. National Geographic Kids First Big Book of Why

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National Geographic Little Kids First Big Book of Why
  • National Geographic Society
  • Hardcover Book
  • Shields, Amy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 128 Pages - 05/10/2011 (Publication Date) - National Geographic Kids (Publisher)

This picture book uses an interactive question-and-answer format using the content around a child's everyday world. It delivers simple recipes, lively information, crafts, hands-on games, and many more. Some examples include What does the doctor see in my throat? Or what makes a car go?. This format invites the kids to ask big questions and think big thoughts, and they should get accurate, level-appropriate, and engaging answers based on educational findings. Also, the playful and photographic book for your 4-year-old will help prepare them for preschool interactively, which is the best way to encourage learning at this age.

3. What Should Danny Do?

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What Should Danny Do? (The Power to Choose Series)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Levy, Adir (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 68 Pages - 05/01/2017 (Publication Date) - Elon Books (Publisher)

This interactive yet innovative book will empower your children by understanding how their choices shape their days and, finally, how they will be in their lives. The story is about Danny, a Superhero-in-Training. During his day, he faces choices that kids face daily; as your children navigate through the different storylines, they will start to realize that their choices for Danny ended up shaping what they became. Therefore, this, in turn, shows them that their choices will shape their lives into what they become, and it's a great book for both boys and girls to relate to.

4. Harold and the Purple Crayon

Harold and the Purple Crayon (Purple Crayon Books)
  • HarperTrophy
  • Johnson, Crockett (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 64 Pages - 09/29/2015 (Publication Date) - HarperCollins (Publisher)

This is among the best books for 4-year-olds which will take your children on a journey with Harold and his purple crayon as they work together to figure out how to get Harold to his bed. The title is superb as it helps foster your child's creativity and imagination, and if it's entertaining to your child, girl or boy, you can go online to look for more adventures.

5. The Day you Begin by Jacqueline Woodson

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The Day You Begin
  • Hardcover Book
  • Woodson, Jacqueline (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 08/28/2018 (Publication Date) - Nancy Paulsen Books (Publisher)

The story is about going to school and the power of sharing your story, and how children can learn to embrace what makes them unique and try to celebrate that through friendship. This is because sometimes we will walk into rooms, and everyone around is different, and it can be scary to go into spaces that no one knows us.

6. The Heart & the Bottle by Oliver Jeffers

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The Heart and the Bottle
  • Philomel Books
  • Hardcover Book
  • Jeffers, Oliver (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 03/04/2010 (Publication Date) - Philomel Books (Publisher)

The story is about a girl who lived a life full of wonder at the world around her, and one day, something happened, making her taking her heart and putting in a safe place. However, after that, the world would seem emptier than before, and she wondered if she would know how to get her heart back. The author wrote this story introducing themes of love and loss and insists that there is hope so long as young people are always curious about the world.

7. Dogger By Shirley Hughes

Dogger
  • Red Fox
  • Hughes, Shirley (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 04/01/2010 (Publication Date) - Red Fox (Publisher)

Dogger is an endearing story of Dave's stuffed toy, which was lost and found, and it's filled with humor with a touch of drawings and text and is quite a delight to read aloud. When Dave loses his favorite toy, he becomes very sad, but when the toy turns up for sale at a neighborhood fair, everything seemed all right until someone else decides to buy him before Dave can get some money.

8. Frog and the Wide World

Frog And The Wide World
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 09/17/1998 (Publication Date) - Andersen Press (Publisher)

The story is about when the rat leaves for his travel, and the frog seems anxious to join him in the search for adventure. However, soon the Frog starts to miss his other animal friends Hare, Pig, and Duck, and discovers that the wide world is a little far from home. The adventure story was first published in 1998 and written by Max Velthuijs Max, where it has simple yet effective illustrations with an innocent and charming story.

9. The Snail and the Whale

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The Snail and the Whale
  • Puffin
  • Donaldson, Julia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 04/06/2006 (Publication Date) - Puffin Books (Publisher)

This story is about an unlikely friendship between a big humpback whale and a tiny snail where the tiny snail has big dreams of seeing the world and therefore catches a ride on a friendly whale. Together, the whale and snail travel and visit beautiful places, but the whale swims too close to the shore and gets stuck one day. Will the tiny snail manage to save her new friend? These simple words in the book are great for a budding reader or kids interested in animal stories.

10. The Not So Quiet Library

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The Not So Quiet Library
  • Dial Books
  • Hardcover Book
  • OHora, Zachariah (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 40 Pages - 07/19/2016 (Publication Date) - Dial Books (Publisher)

This is a story of how Teddy, Oskar, and their dad spend most of their Saturdays at a local library with donuts and books, but on a particular Saturday, something strange happens. The Not So Quiet Library is one of the children's books that will help you laugh along with some five-headed monster's antics as they both realize they hold a secret to taming the rude and unruly, and this will be one of your kid's favorite books.

11. Dreamers by Yuyi Morales

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Dreamers
  • Hardcover Book
  • Morales, Yuyi (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 40 Pages - 09/04/2018 (Publication Date) - Neal Porter Books (Publisher)

Dreamers are the story and journey of Yuyi Morale from Mexico to the United States with nothing but her husband, her strength, and her infant son. The mom is not familiar with her new home language, so she and her son take refuge in the local library and share the power of reading and language with her son.

12. The Little House

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The Little House
  • Houghton Mifflin
  • Burton, Virginia Lee (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 44 Pages - 04/26/1978 (Publication Date) - Clarion Books (Publisher)

The story follows a modest house and how it withstands the test of time, and we see the surroundings change from quiet countryside to a loud yet busy city. Initially, the house will love seeing the town, but it will eventually miss the countryside and yearn to go back. This book allows readers to compare the country and town or city, and it opens a lot of open-ended questions for any girl or boy during storytime.


How Do You Engage your 4-Year Old?

Reading has many benefits for children, but if you don't consider yourself an active reader and feel like you a completely monotone during the storytime, there are some tips for parents to engage their children in fun yet educational way. They include:

a). Read the Titles and Attributions

Before beginning your new book story, you should read the title and the author's name while pointing at the words. Even though your child may not be capable of reading yet, pointing to these will show your children that the author and the book's title are important.

b). Ask Questions

Throughout your storytime, it's advisable to pause now and then and ask relevant questions about the things they have seen and so on. For example, if you read about a sad rabbit, you can ask your little one how they think the rabbit is feeling and why it may feel that way. This helps your children better comprehend animals and helps your child look for deeper meanings to things.

c). Try to Read the Book Beforehand

Before you start reading the book to your children, it's important to have skimmed through the book first as it makes it easier to read because you have the feelings and thoughts of the characters in your mind. Also, it helps you to figure out the best way to explain new vocabulary or any other questions that may come from reading the book.


Factors to Consider Before Purchasing the Best Book for 4-Year-Olds

There is a wide range of children's books that can cover various topics, and some of these considerations will assist you in picking the best book for your 4-year old. They include:

1. Bright Illustrations

Most children at this age live for vibrancy, plenty of beautiful illustrations, and silliness, meaning finding a children's book with pictures and fun illustrations will help keep your child's attention during the story. The brightly illustrated favorite books will also assist in developing their imagination. In addition, they will introduce the use of context clues that they will learn as soon as they are preschoolers.

2. Subject Matter

The subject matter is an important factor in considering where the book you get your child should align with their personality and interests. For example, if your children love outer space or robots, you should find a book on these topics that will blow their minds because getting them books they are not interested in will waste your resources.

3. Reading Level

Reading levels are different for every four years old and not all 4-year-olds have the expected reading level. Therefore, ensure as a mom or guardian that you choose a book for your kid based on their reading level and not necessarily based on their age.

4. Message and Style

The message and style highly focus on what you are trying to teach the child about, for example, learning how to share, having a peaceful bedtime routine, or any specific situation you want to help the child with. This is important because all books have lessons they want to teach, but the authors can choose to deliver the message differently, which you should pick according to what you think is best, either sweet or humorous.

5. Rhymes

Any book that rhymes will be good for your four-year-old because it will keep them engaged and having fun while reading. In addition, rhymes will help make a challenging book for their reading level. It will help them understand easier and help them incorporate the words into their vocabulary, making it a great factor to consider.


Frequently Asked Questions on the Best Books for 4-Year-Olds.

1. What are the benefits of picture books for young children?

Picture books have slowly become favorite books because they build language skills and spark a love of reading, boost social-emotional learning, improve the child's comprehension, and help them identify the sequence, among many other reasons. In addition, these books allow your kids to dream big. Since the 4-year-old period is between toddlerhood and elementary school, it makes the perfect time for exploration and experimentation when it comes to books.

2. What is the difference between a sweet picture book and illustrated book?

In general, a picture book should be around thirty to forty pages lengthwise with a standard of thirty-two pages. In contrast, an illustrated book can go up to 300 pages long depending on the target audience. You can find picture books in different sizes, shapes, and textures, but the illustration books' flexibility is small.

3. What makes a good book for preschoolers?

Preschoolers enjoy books with many pictures, action, and repetition of stories that should be about themselves or other children in their age range. Still, different genres are important, such as picture books, wordless, fairytale, participation, or predictable books.

Janice Warren


Janice is a full-time writer at Infantcore, writing about her experiences as mother of 4.

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