Best 10 Picture Books My 4 Year Old Loves

lvoes to read


As an avid book lover and English teacher, I have a boatload of book opinions. I love reading, reviewing, and discussing all types of books, especially children’s books.  So, when my first son was born, I knew we would have fun building a library.  Each night we read (I should clarify: he doesn’t read the books by himself , but we read with him every night.), and it’s been fun to see his own opinions grow.  His age, 4, is a really great age because he’s old enough to communicate, and yet young enough to be completely imaginative! In fact, one of his common questions is How can I get inside this book? How do I get in the story?

So, I thought it would be fun to compile a list from his point of view.  Here’s our four year old’s current list of favorite reads:

1. We recently discovered Mo Willems’ series, Elephant and Piggie.  And, boy, are we delighted to read the adventures of these two silly characters.  My son heartily laughs through each story.  While they may appear simple in illustration and dialogue, I can’t tell how you how much imagination these books can spark.

We Are in a Book! (An Elephant and Piggie Book)

[Check out this post on our discovery of Elephant & Piggie books!]

2. Richard Scarry is one of our favorite illustrators and authors.  In fact, my husband was lucky because his mother save a few of his Scarry books from childhood for our children. Once my son discovered Cars and Trucks and Things that Go, it quickly became one of his favorite books.  If you haven’t read these with your children yet, the amount of sheer detail in the illustrations will impress you, too.  Also, our favorite game is to search for Goldbug in each scene.

Richard Scarry’s Cars and Trucks and Things That Go

[Check out more great books by Richard Scarry in this post.]

3. This age is also the age, while fun, when children discover hilarity in rude things (bodily functions for one – hence the popularity of the minion fart gun toy).  My son loves, I mean LOVES, when books have silly characters who are rude or mischievous.  He also loves cakes.  In fact, the title alone makes one wonder how this book hadn’t come along already.

Rude Cakes

4. Dragons and Tacos. Gotta love children’s books! Of course dragons love tacos but whatever you do – don’t serve them spicy salsa.  The illustrations and the plot of spicy salsa and taco loving dragons is hilarious.  It’s always makes me hungry for tacos.  This is a cute book, though, and is currently on our nightly rotation!

Dragons Love Tacos

5. My son actually left the Thomas train obsessed phase probably a year or so ago (the train tracks, the movies, the games).  However, I actually found this collection at a consignment sale and picked it up because I though we might like reading it.  I’m glad I did because it was a hit for my son.  The Rev. W. Awdry stories are more “fairy tale” in nature as the language is more mature (similiar to the original Thomas shows).  However, we love reading about the naughty trains and they things the do as well as the adventures they go on.  There are so many stories, and we do about 3-4 a night. There aren’t as many illustrations as single picture books, but it works well enough.  If you have a Thomas the Tank Engine fan, try this collection.

Thomas the Tank Engine: the Complete Collection

6.  Bad Kitty can be very, very good and very, very bad.  It’s a cute book that takes a look at what a bad kitty can do if she’s being bad (listed in alphabetical order).  This book just cracks us up in the kitty’s expression and “badness.”  My son loves the distinction between the “bad” and “good” kitty.

Bad Kitty

7. My son randomly picked up a Polo book at the library, and it turns out it is a wordless book. I’m planning a separate review of this book, but I really can’t sing its praises enough.  I never thought my son would enjoy a wordless book as much as he does: he gets to create the story each time.  Polo goes on wild, fantastic, and amazing adventures, and the illustrations do all of the work in creating the scene.  I couldn’t believe we hadn’t heard of this author and his books, but I plan on purchasing copies for our house because they are classic children’s storytelling, in my son and my opinions!

The Adventures of Polo

8.  We’ve read a dump truck full (ha!) of construction books with my son.  This is a “new to us” book, but it’s actually informative in each description.  My son is at the age, as a reader, he wants real information.  What’s nice about the alphabet is that each letter has a construction vehicle with a brief, but detailed description.  If you want a book that is concise but interesting for readers – this

The Construction Alphabet Book

9. All ninja. All the time! This is a cute, new book about a ninja bunny, and we love all things ninja.  We’re always looking for more ninja books, so if you have any suggestions, let me know!

Ninja Bunny

10. I’m a huge Roald Dahl fan [Check out our favorite Dahl reads here], and my son decided he wanted me to read this book after choosing it at the library.  I was a little hesitant to read it, but he was fascinated (not scared) by the chomping crocodile.  In fact, reading it with my son made me see Dahl’s language in a new way and gain respect for his storytelling all over. The story delighted my son, and he clearly followed the lesson of the crocodile in trying to eat everyone.

The Enormous Crocodile

Next on our list: My husband really loved Tintin, and we’ve watched the movie with our son.  I’d like to get the volume set to begin reading it with him, but I’ve never read it myself, so I’m not sure if he’ll be ready for it yet.

The Adventures of Tintin, Vol. 1 (Tintin in America / Cigars of the Pharaoh / The Blue Lotus)

When I asked my son what his all time favorite books were, he said “New books!” I suppose that means he loves discovering new books (and we’ve used our library card heavily this year). Tell me what your children love, so we can find some “new books!”