Books Reading

Awesome Books for 4 Year Olds

10th December 2018

My four year old has read more than me this year.  And 4 is a weird age thing.  They’re not babies anymore, but they’re not really independent readers.

The picture books need to have a lot going on, and all the squirrels in their brains might be leaning towards chapter books, with a lot going on, but not so much they switch off.

A reader recently asked me for a list of Isla-approved books. 


I’m not an expert in the reading habits of four year-olds, but I have a four year-old, and it’s been really difficult interesting to buy books for her recently.

These are her favorite books, and they come highly recommended for the kid in your life.

The suggested reading age on some of these books is 5 to 7.  But age is just a number.

This list book list contains Amazon affiliate links, I make a small commission if you make a US or UK purchase through them, at no extra cost to you. Read my disclosure here.)

This list is also a collaborative effort between Isla, Neil, and me. Kinda like our family reading sessions.

Marge in Charge – Isla Fisher

OK, so. We initially bought this because of the ‘Isla’ connection.’That’s MY NAME,’ our Isla said when we found them, ‘read them ALL to me.’

The Marge in Charge stories have become a firm favorite in our household.   Funny and well-written, each book is split into 3 stories, which perfectly fits our girl’s attention span.

Marge in Charge is a series of four books, so far.

Mr Men


Little Miss – Roger Hargreaves

Isla loves the Mr Men and Little Miss books.  She always has a stack of them
next to her bed, and an evening’s reading wouldn’t be complete without at
least one. Or six.


Animal Ark: Kitten Rescue – Lucy Daniels

Like many 4 year-old girls, Isla loves animals, and she  tells us she wants to be a vet, so these books were perfect for her. Tales of daring adventures and rescuing cute animals. Kitten Rescue is the first book in a ten book series.


Roald Dahl’s Scrumdiddlyumptious Story Collection (Roald Dahl Box Set)

Lets face it, a bookish childhood is not complete without some Roald Dahl, and our
bookish child adores these.

Her favourite is The Twits, we’ve lost count oft the number of times we’ve read it, closely followed by Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

We’re reading Matilda to her at the moment, which isn’t in the above box set, but Isla knows it’s ‘Mumma’s favorite kid’s book.’

Uncle Shawn and Bill and the Almost Entirely Unplanned Adventure – A. L. Kennedy

This was bought for ourselves, really.  A. L. Kennedy is a wonderful Scottish writer of serious books, and a stand-up comedian in her spare time, and both of these show in this book.

Wonderfully written and genuinely hilarious, Isla really got into it, demanding multiple readings. It might be more suitable for children a bit older than Isla due to some scary bits.

Paddington Bear – Michael Bond

When we asked Isla what her favorite books were, she was adamant that this be included in the list, despite only having read half of it, which goes to show how quickly it captured her imagination.


Super Magic Happy Forest – Matty Long


You wouldn’t believe how many times we’ve read this and it’s sequel (Slug of Doom) to Isla.  She can’t read herself yet, but she knows them both of by heart.  

Very silly tales of epic quests, with lots of hidden puzzles, in-jokes and geek culture references. Neil mostly loved the Viking Penguins.

The Pug Who Wanted to be a Unicorn – Bella Swift

A recent favorite, and a ridiculously sweet story.  You can guess the plot from
the title.


Dr Seuss Omnibus

Like Roald Dahl, Dr Seuss is a staple of any bookish childhood. Isla particularly loves The Cat in the Hat, but who doesn’t?


Ping and Pong are Best Friends (mostly) – Tim Hopgood

Isla favorite toy is a big blue penguin called Victoria (who really deserves a blog of her own, and kinda stars in this post).

Often Isla will tell us that Victoria wants a ‘penguin book’. Of all her dozens of penguins books, this was the one she picked as her favorite.


Where’s the Unicorn

Unicorns are a ‘thing’ at the moment, they’re everywhere, and Isla is no
different from most girls her age in that she loves them.  


This book is basically ‘Where’s Wally/Waldo’, but with unicorns, wonderfully drawn. We’ve spent hours staring at this, trying to find the last one.


What does your favorite little kid like to read?


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  • Reply Ritu 10th December 2018 at 7:47 pm

    Lots of great book choices there!!

  • Reply Nicole 10th December 2018 at 8:19 pm

    We will have to check these out! Favorites around our house include the Mo Willems books (both children are partial to the Pigeon) and Goodnight Moon.

    • Reply Lorna 10th December 2018 at 9:45 pm

      Elephant and Piggie!

  • Reply SickChristine 10th December 2018 at 8:54 pm

    I can attest to the fact that Roald Dahl is awesome for 45 year olds too.

    • Reply Lorna 10th December 2018 at 9:21 pm

      Older than 45, but have you read or seen the film Esio Trot? Judy Dench and Dustin Hoffman. Brilliant.

  • Reply Rebecca Moon Ruark 10th December 2018 at 9:27 pm

    One of my guys was sitting on my lap as I was reading this post, and he recognized Dahl–definitely an author Isla will be able to grow up with! There was also Pete the Cat, Winnie the Pooh–fun!

  • Reply gemmaorton 10th December 2018 at 9:28 pm

    Roald Dahl is the reason I started reading and how I discovered how magical a book can be!

  • Reply justmuddlingthroughlife 10th December 2018 at 11:59 pm

    We love Roald Dahl, my 5 year old has a bfg toy for Christmas… However her favourite is Mog the Cat, we have cuddly mog too, lovely list of books.

    • Reply Lorna 12th December 2018 at 9:48 am

      We love Meg & Mog, too!

  • Reply CarolCooks2 11th December 2018 at 12:58 am

    I see the Mr Men are still favourite reads my kids and grand kids loved them little stories..Spike Miligan and his rhymes are a firm favourite 🙂 and lemony snicket 🙂

  • Reply fancypaperblog 11th December 2018 at 4:41 pm

    So we have just discovered the Julia Donaldson collection that boasts ‘glitter on every page’. Also King Baby and Cave Baby. I especially like King Baby. It makes me do voices.

    • Reply Lorna 11th December 2018 at 4:44 pm

      All the glitter. Have you read the beach one? And Isla thinks my Apple Jack impression from My Little Pony is uncanny.

      • Reply fancypaperblog 11th December 2018 at 4:52 pm

        And we love Apple Jack. We have read the mermaid and the wizard one. Oh and the one about Dragon Pox. Pox and glitter eh!

      • Reply fancypaperblog 15th December 2018 at 12:34 pm

        My reply to this vanished! No we have not gotten the beach one yet but we have had the mermaid, wizard and Dragon pox one. I love them. So can we have a video of this impression please? 🐴

        • Reply Lorna 15th December 2018 at 12:45 pm

          Working on podcast ideas for next year, so.
          This is an affiliate link to The Snail and the Whale, which is beachy: and there’s also Tiddler which I think is Nemo um, inspired.

  • Reply Gloria 13th December 2018 at 1:53 pm

    Great list Lorna. Yes…How did unicorns become so popular? They’re all crazy about them.

  • Reply Darcy Duda 13th December 2018 at 2:05 pm

    Great list! One of my personal favorites is The Book With No Pictures. My son loved that one, and it’s surprisingly funny for the kids if you’re a parent who likes to read and “do the voices!”

    • Reply Lorna 13th December 2018 at 3:04 pm

      Yep, I’m almost disappointed when Isla wants me to use my real voice, ha! Also looked up The Book With No Pictures, so much fun!

  • Reply Lucy Dorrington 13th December 2018 at 2:40 pm

    I loved this age, because they enjoy reading so much and everything is so exciting! It’s lovely to think you’re shaping their love of books for the future, too.

  • Reply laura dove 13th December 2018 at 2:48 pm

    What a fab list. My youngest is 4 and he LOVES Roald Dahl!

  • Reply countryheartdeb 13th December 2018 at 2:52 pm

    Great list, my daughters love unicorns and Roald Dahl too! lol

  • Reply Devon Mama 13th December 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Thanks for this, our nephew is 4 (nearly 5) and we’ve been trying to find books for him but it’s such a tricky age to peg! I love that Roald Dahl is working so well for you, I think we’ll be going for that!

    • Reply Lorna 13th December 2018 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks, Hayley! Great place to start. I hope your nephew enjoys whatever books you choose!

  • Reply dear bear and beany 13th December 2018 at 9:16 pm

    So many great books! My youngest is 4 and she would love the unicorn books

    • Reply Lorna 13th December 2018 at 9:19 pm

      They are my faves…those and Matilda!

  • Reply Anosa 14th December 2018 at 7:20 am

    We do love Dahl in our home and love the collection of books mentioned

  • Reply fashionandstylepolice 14th December 2018 at 12:23 pm

    Great books here. My kids have read some of them.

  • Reply Jess Howliston 14th December 2018 at 11:13 pm

    So many great suggestions, thanks for sharing! My little girl is 4 and we are always on the look out for new books for bedtime stories! I think she would particularly love “the pug who wanted to be a unicorn!”

  • Reply ChelseaMamma 15th December 2018 at 8:13 am

    We are on Wonky Donkey at the moment – it is hilarious!!

  • Reply laurasidestreet 18th December 2018 at 7:42 am

    These are such great book ideas! I love giving the kids books for Christmas and we are big fans of Mr Men and Dahl!

    Laura x

  • Reply Louise x (@withlovefromlou) 18th December 2018 at 5:35 pm

    Oscar loves reading by himself at the moment (well, as best as he can) and he’s been loving the Usborne Phonics books. I think I might try him with some Mr Men ones soon though. My daughter used to love them!

    Louise x

  • Reply lindahobden 8th January 2019 at 4:04 pm

    My youngest 2 sons are now 12 & 13 but when they (and their older siblings) were 4, like Isla they were infatuated with Mr & Miss Men series of books. We had a set of 55 books and I lost count how many times I read each book to them! So many times that they knew the words off by heart. They also enjoyed Roald Dahl – Charlie & The Chocolate Factory was a great favourite. Isla has good taste. 😊

  • Reply observationsinretail 8th January 2019 at 5:52 pm

    Great picks here!

  • Reply Laurie Stone 8th January 2019 at 9:46 pm

    My kids both would’ve loved these when they were wee ones. Maybe someday for grandchildren?

  • Reply Ellen @ If It Brings You Joy 9th January 2019 at 1:58 am

    I have such fond memories of reading to my kids when they were young. Sometimes it was the same book over and over and over!

  • Reply rachaelstray 10th January 2019 at 9:58 am

    I’ve read the adult book that led to Animal Ark can’t remember the name of it though and really enjoyed it!

  • Reply Jennifer 12th January 2019 at 4:42 am

    And all is right in the world because Paddington Bear is on the list.

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