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Chapter books to read to a four-year-old?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 

DD and I just finished both Winnie-the-Pooh books; she liked them, although they were a little over her head. The last chapter was all about Christopher Robin going off to school and the bittersweetness of growing up, and the text never explicitly said he was going off to school... poor DD was very confused. :p But she liked them, and it was fun to read a longer book.

 

So, any other suggestions? I can't stand Milly-Molly-Mandy. She's a bit young for Laura Ingalls Wilder or the Chronicles of Narnia. I don't like The Wind in the Willows either (I know, I know). I want something sort of classic-literaturey, just... young. And I'm drawing a blank. Anyone? She's a bright kid with a pretty good vocabulary, but I don't want to ruin a good "older" book by introducing it before she's properly able to enjoy it.

post #2 of 15
I think we read My Father's Dragon when ds1 was four, and he enjoyed it. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a hit, too - we read quite a few Roald Dahl books at that age.

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post #3 of 15

The nice thing about WTP and Little House is that most chapters can be read separately and out of context.  (I used voices extensively in WTP because it was fun, but also because it was hard to tell who was speaking at times.)

 

I'll think of some of the ones we've enjoyed, but my dd still didn't do a chapter book from beginning til end for quite sometime, though we loved chapters within them.  We did chapters of Pippi Longstocking as well.  

 

I'll second My Father's Dragon.  

 

More later.  We kind of waited for chapter books somewhat, (Charlotte's Web was one.)  Then we skipped straight into books for older kids.  Not much in between.

post #4 of 15

we are reading Watership Down to our four year old- he currently is going by the name of Fiver - he loves it and we are half way through

 

we had finished some Uncle Wiggle prior to that- we are into bunnies at the moment

post #5 of 15
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was a hit, too - we read quite a few Roald Dahl books at that age.

Of course! I forgot all about him. I'll have to find a second-hand copy - I have The Great Glass Elevator, but not the first one. I think she'd like the humour and fantasy of it. I do have The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me somewhere - we could read that in the meantime.

 

Never heard of My Father's Dragon, but I'll look it up - thanks!

 

Quote:
we are reading Watership Down to our four year old- he currently is going by the name of Fiver - he loves it and we are half way through

Really? Wow! Watership Down's one of my favourite books, but I remember trying to read it at 12 or so and being bored stiff. I was grown up before I could appreciate the pages of landscape and subtle descriptions and general darkness. I can't imagine DD going for it at four. It really is a fantastic book, though...

post #6 of 15
Quote:
Really? Wow!

 

our son actually found it and really enjoys it- he had seen some youtube and asked if it was a book and the book is more interesting for him-we have been doing a chapter a night (in addition to other reading to him) being non-British he views some of the character as the "video version" has them and he tries the British accent as well when he refers to the different rabbits (we now have a large collection of stuffed bunnies-that acted out the characters)

 

did you think of any of the old Raggedy Ann /Andy chapter stories? (Johnny Gruelle)

 


Edited by serenbat - 7/18/12 at 4:28am
post #7 of 15

My suggestions aren't classics, but more recent modern books. My DD also loved the Winnie-The-Pooh books, but then we drew a blank. I tried Little House but she lost interest.

 

What DD LOVES right now (she is also 4), is the Magic Treehouse series. We read 1-2 each week, and they are short enough you could even read the whole book in one sitting (we usually read it over two days).

 

I bought a few others before we went to France this spring to read on the plane, and they were also a success. She loved Bad Kitty Gets a Bath...there are a ton of illustrations which I think makes it an easier chapter book for kids this age. We also read Lulu and the Brontosaurus and DD really enjoyed it.

 

Crazily enough, her current *favorite* chapter book came as a complete surprise for me...The Invention of Hugo Cabret. I actually checked it out of the library for myself, but she started looking at all of the illustrations and asked me to read it to her. We read the whole 500-page book in 3 days. I can't tell you how much I loved it...the illustrations are beautiful and actually tell a part of the story. The smaller amount of text makes it a quick read. There is a chase scene, and one scene where someone is found dead, but it is not graphic in any way, and dealt in the story in a way that I think is okay for kids this age to read. There is also a fire, that is quite sad. We talked a lot about that scene after we read it, but again...the illustrations are not graphic. I can't wait to read his next book that is written in a similar style, Wonderstruck.

 

When we went to Paris, the one museum we went to was in an old train station, DD thought she was in Hugo's train station. The magical delight she experienced at what would have otherwise been a rather boring museum for her (impressionists) is one of my fondest memories from our trip.
 

post #8 of 15

I don't know what's available in New Zealand.  I wonder if you can find Danny Fox there (by David Thomson.)  That's a good read-aloud for young kids that I never recommend because I know no one in the US can find it. (It was published in England and I still have my childhood copy, bought when my family lived overseas.)

 

Some other books my kids have enjoyed at 4 or younger:

The Jamie and Angus Stories

Jenny and the Cat Club

My Father's Dragon

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz

The Boxcar Children

Catwings

Little Dog Lost

No Flying in the House

Emil in the Soup Tureen

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Did You Carry the Flag Today, Charley?

Betsy-Tacy

Happy Little Family

All-Of-A-Kind Family

The Children on Troublemaker Street

Toys Go Out

Comet in Moominland

Ramona the Pest

Pippi Longstocking

The Children of Noisy Village

Charlotte's Web

 

Four is probably too young to enjoy most of The Jungle Book, but both my kids liked Rikki-Tikki-Tavi starting at about 3 1/2.

post #9 of 15

Stuart little.  The nice thing about reading aloud to a young child is they can listen to a  book well above their reading comprehension.  My kids loved :my fathers dragon (there are two sequels, i think) and mr. poppers penguins is a great one, too.
 

post #10 of 15
Quote:

 

Four is probably too young to enjoy most of The Jungle Book, but both my kids liked Rikki-Tikki-Tavi starting at about 3 1/2.

My four yo loved the Mowgli stories.  We read The Hobbit at 5.  She loved stories about tigers and dragons, etc.

post #11 of 15

I'll second the Astrid Lindgren (the Emil books, the Noisy Village books) books mentioned above. The children have a little more spirit than the Milly-Molly-Mandy books, if that's what irks you about them. The Moomintroll books are a good suggestion too. They are the first suggestions that came to me when I read the post. 

 

DD enjoyed Madeline and both DD and DS liked Curious George at that age, but they are not chapter books, though. 

 

DD liked the Judy Moody books by Megan McDonald. They aren't particularly memorable or classic. 

 

Thornton Burgess? He wrote simple stories about anthropomorphic animals (eg. The Adventures of Jerry Muskrat) but I think they are out of print. I loved them when I was young, but they weren't around when I looked for my kids. I came upon one recently in a used book store. It's been many years since I read them, so I'm not sure if there's any issues with offensive content, but my recollection is that small children would enjoy them. If you can find any, they might suit, since she likes Winnie-the-Pooh

 

Perhaps she would enjoy some collections of legends and myths - Roman and Greek, Norse, Maori, Japanese, etc. 

post #12 of 15

Audio books are good for chapter books. Tle Little House audio books are very very good.

post #13 of 15
Quote:
Originally Posted by Nazsmum View Post

Audio books are good for chapter books. Tle Little House audio books are very very good.

My DD loves the Magic Tree House books to be read to her and on audio.  I think the audio books helped her to be able to enjoy having them read to her more because she was familiar with the story line.

post #14 of 15

I just found this great list of chapter books to read to the younger age set (3-8). Many of the books mentioned in this thread are on the list, plus a few more I have never heard of.

 

http://sarahjanestudios.com/blog/2010/02/chapter-books-for-the-younger-kids/
 

post #15 of 15

The Frog and Toad series. My kids *loved* those at that age.

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