What are some of the best children’s books for 4-year-olds? Storytime gives us parents or grandparents an intimate time to share an adventure with our children. Below you’ll find a list of happy healthy kid-approved children’s books for 4-year-olds or school-aged children. Reading picture books aloud with your kids brings more to the story. There are numerous studies about the benefit of reading with your kids, even before they are born! It’s a great time to love each other, have a laugh, or ignite a conversation.
Benefits to storytime
PBS Kids recommend starting early with storytime. To read often, read the pictures, and to take a minute and talk about the story, to ask each other questions about it. They go on to say, “the more words that are in a child’s language world, the more words they will learn, and the stronger their language skills are when they reach kindergarten, the more prepared they are to be able to read, and the better they read, the more likely they will graduate from high school”
From All4Kids.org they say reading also helps with cognitive development, improves language skills, serves as a platform for academic success, creates a special bond, improves imagination and creativity, plus increases concentration.
What to read?
Not all picture books are the same. I’ve read hundreds of books and there are some books that made one eyebrow go up. Toddlers want to giggle, they want happy stories, and they want the reader to be goofy. Let’s face it, we all want that! The stories below are picked as the best based on four criteria: the story, ease of reading, how the words flow, and most importantly, PLOT! I’ve done the homework for you on the best picture books for kids.
These are some of my favorite books I’ve read aloud to my son when he was little. Snuggle up with your kiddos and grab a picture book that will make them smile and feel good.
8 Best Children’s Books for 4-year-olds
Ink by Christy Troy (that’s me). After reading hundreds of children’s picture books, I studied up and wrote one too. Ink, a retractable pen, wants to be the favorite pen that sits in the shirt pocket. He knows how to get there, but he has a serious problem…he can’t write. Will the pen pals help him? Will Ink become the favorite pen? Hold on to your pen caps as Ink takes you on a journey that brings you a giggle and a surprise ending. If you order through my shop, you get an author-signed copy! Plus when you go to Ink’s page you get free activity pages, just download and play!
Goodnight, Goodnight, Construction Site
Goodnight Goodnight Construction Site by Sherri Duskey Rinker and Tom Lichtenheld is one of my favorite books to read to kids. I love the cadence and beat of the rhymes. Sherri and Tom did a great job with the word choice and illustrations. It is clever and very cute. Any child will love the imagination of trucks needing to sleep too. I just had to have my own copy. You can get it on Amazon here. It comes in glow-in-the-dark! This is also a great gift to any truck lover.
Salad Pie by Wendy BooydeGraaff is a fantastic book to ignite imagination for outside play. Wendy is a colleague of mine. In fact, she and I were in a children’s book-writing group together. She did a great job making you feel like a kid again playing on the playground. The illustrations by Bryan Langdo capture the beauty and emotion of playing outside. This adorable story makes me, as an adult, even go outside and make salad pie! Nice job Wendy and Bryan.
When a Dragon Moves In
When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore and illustrated by Howard McWilliam brings me back to my days as a kid on the beach in Florida. My dad and I used to build amazing sandcastles, but we never thought a dragon would move in. I love this story. The humor is cute and the pictures are engaging. The dragon kind of reminds me of a dog…so funny. This is one for the library, especially if you want to escape to the beach!
The Apple Pie Tree
The Apple Pie Tree by Zoe Hall and illustrated by Shari Halpern is a classic. I read this book over and over with my son when he was a tot. It’s educational, it’s easy to read, and you learn how to make a pie! This is a great book to help our kiddos recognize words. And learn how an apple grows through the seasons. A keeper for the home library, and fun to read during apple season!
More rhyming books
Dig Dogs Dig by James Horvath is a construction lover’s gem. My son loved to play with construction trucks in the sand and gravel patch we made him. He’d make the noises with his mouth and have them talk. So cute! This book has a great rhythmic cadence. It’s fun to read and has a fun story. Plus there are dogs in it! Great job James on writing and illustrating. A keeper in our house.
Rumble in the Jungle by Giles Andreae and illustrated by David Wojtowycz is a super fun book to read. We read it so many times that our book cover is getting tattered. We learn about all sorts of jungle animals and what their jungle job is. The pictures are colorful and cute. You really feel good after reading the rhythm of this book. Bravo!
My Truck is Stuck by Kevin Lewis and Daniel Kirk is a great book for entertainment. With its catchy rhymes and engaging pictures, you’re sure to get a laugh. Storytime has a whole new meaning…giggle time. This is another book of ours that has had a workout. Nice job guys!
Wrapping it up
Every year more and more picture books come into print. Not all picture books are the same, be sure to look for stories that are well-written, have a pivotal point, and have a happy ending. Remember, I have read hundreds of children’s books and there are a lot of bad ones…so take note of the good ones and purchase them for your library or baby shower gifts.
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