chapter book recommendations for almost 4-year-old
January 7, 2017 6:52 PM   Subscribe

My son will be 4 in March and he loves books. Can you recommend some longer/chapter books age appropriate with easy listening comprehension?

So far we've read some Roald Dahl: Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (loved), Fantastic Mr. Fox (a little too much talk about guns and drinking for a 3-year-old), and The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me. Nothing too scary or violent, and bonus points if we can watch the movie together after we finish reading!
posted by sabh to Education (20 answers total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
When my daughter was about that age, we read through the entire Magic Treehouse series. The chapters are all short, and if I remember right, most of them end with a cliffhanger, so it's easy to read just a bit every night.
posted by brozek at 7:05 PM on January 7, 2017 [3 favorites]

Some books that my 5-year old and I have read and enjoyed over the past year or so:
Sideways Stories from Wayside School
Velveteen Rabbit
Boxcar Children
Junie B. Jones series
Magic Treehouse series
Ramona books; also, Ribsy and Ralph T. Mouse
My Father's Dragon
The Borrowers
Mr. Popper's Pengins
posted by chickenmagazine at 7:06 PM on January 7, 2017 [4 favorites]

at that age I remember reading little house books and hatchet.
posted by Ferreous at 7:09 PM on January 7, 2017

along with my side of the mountain
posted by Ferreous at 7:09 PM on January 7, 2017

I was going to say Little House on the Prairie but at that age, my son did love Nate the Great books, and frankly Dr. Suess was a huge hit in our house.
posted by Marie Mon Dieu at 7:10 PM on January 7, 2017

Not a direct suggestion, but check out the Read-Aloud Handbook, the second half of which is basically a list of books suitable for reading aloud to kids of different ages. The book itself is a little icky in its focus on SAT scores and college etc., but you can ignore that.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:19 PM on January 7, 2017

My 4 year old daughter loved the Faraway Tree books by Enid Blyton.
posted by Gomez_in_the_South at 7:20 PM on January 7, 2017

Chapter books intended for beginning readers (Magic Tree House, Junie B. Jones, The Secrets of Droon, etc.) work well as read-alouds for a 4 year old because the language is simple and the plots are easy to follow. But they're not great literature and they're kind of boring for the parent reading them.

Some that are more fun to read aloud:

The Jamie and Angus stories - Anne Fine
Did You Carry the Flag Today, Charley? - Rebecca Caudill
Happy Little Family - Rebecca Caudill
Betsy-Tacy - Maud Hart Lovelace (warning: a baby dies in one chapter)
The Children on Troublemaker Street - Astrid Lindgren
The Children of Noisy Village - Astrid Lindgren
Emil in the Soup Tureen - Astrid Lindgren
All-Of-A-Kind Family - Sydney Taylor
Ramona the Pest - Beverly Cleary
The Milly-Molly-Mandy Storybook - Joyce Lankester Brisley
The Boxcar Children - Gertrude Chandler Warner
Day of the Blizzard - Marietta Moskin
The Bears on Hemlock Mountain - Alice Dalgliesh
Winnie-the-Pooh - A.A. Milne
My Father's Dragon - Ruth Stiles Gannett
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz - Frank L. Baum
Catwings - Ursula K. Le Guin
Jenny and the Cat Club - Esther Averill
No Flying in the House - Betty Brock
Comet in Moominland - Tove Jansson
Toys Go Out - Emily Jenkins
Pippi Longstocking - Astrid Lindgren
Charlotte's Web - E.B. White (could be too sad)
Stuart Little - E.B. White
The Night Fairy - Laura Amy Schlitz
The Doll People - Ann M. Martin

Many of these have sequels.
posted by Redstart at 7:37 PM on January 7, 2017 [5 favorites]

I read My Father's Dragon to my son when he was 4 (he is a seasoned 5 year old now!) and he loved it. I meant to read a chapter a night, and we ended up doing 3 at his request.
posted by DrGirlfriend at 7:42 PM on January 7, 2017

At 4 the longer / chapter books my son loved were The Marvelous Land of Oz, The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Little House in the Big Woods, and Mr. Popper's Penguins.
posted by Mchelly at 7:42 PM on January 7, 2017

I was coming in to recommend The Jamie and Angus stories, but Redstart beat me to it! My girls also love Milly Molly Mandy, My Naughty Little Sister, Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle, and the Moffat Series of books.
posted by momochan at 8:39 PM on January 7, 2017

Pippi Longstocking has been in relentless reread since then for mine.
posted by dorothyisunderwood at 10:36 PM on January 7, 2017 [2 favorites]

We just read The Chocolate Touch and my daughter loved it.
posted by benzenedream at 11:40 PM on January 7, 2017

Most of my go-to suggestions have already been mentioned but I wanted to cast an enthusiastic fourth nomination for My Father's Dragon just because I loved having it read to me when I was little.

Also, believe it or not, you might want to consider some of the American Girl books. Not so much the more recent ones with contemporary settings, which seem to be pitched at a slightly older age, but the older ones with historical settings are great. (And I say this as somebody who was deeply skeptical about them-- given that each book is tied to a specific doll you can buy, I expected them to be exploitatative cash-ins, but they feel like genuine labors of love. They're very well written, with sympathetic characters and fascinating settings.) Meet Josefina was the very first longer book I read to my daughter and she absolutely loved it.

Some of them have movies you can watch as well.

(That said, do be warned that they can be a gateway to the very expensive American Doll ecosystem.)
posted by yankeefog at 1:50 AM on January 8, 2017

Captain Underpants!!
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 3:23 AM on January 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

thanks, all! placed holds on many titles at my local library, looks like we have a lot of reading to do.
posted by sabh at 4:47 AM on January 8, 2017

The Frog and Toad books each have 5 standalone stories in them, so it's sort of like chapters and sort of a short story collection. This may be too short for a "parent reads a book" situation, but you may find them useful later as a "kid reads a chapter book!" option.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 7:04 AM on January 8, 2017

The original Oz series (14 volumes.) The original, the Wizard of Oz, is quite a bit darker than the rest, so you might skip it if he's sensitive. The rest are gentle but engaging fairy stories.
posted by fingersandtoes at 9:34 AM on January 8, 2017

James and the Giant Peach - Roald Dahl
Paddington Bear books - Michael Bond
posted by MexicanYenta at 1:01 PM on January 8, 2017

Mrs. Noodlekugel, by Daniel Pinkwater! Super silly, short chapters. I read this aloud to my kindergarten class this year, and they loved it. There are two sequels, and hopefully more on the way. My younger daughter loved the Anna Hibiscus books by Atinuke, who also wrote the Number 1 Car Spotter series.
posted by SobaFett at 5:12 PM on January 8, 2017 [1 favorite]

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