Sci-fi/Fantasy novel for a 4-5 year old
December 3, 2017 2:01 PM   Subscribe

Looking for sci-fi/fanstasy book recommendations suitable for a 4-5 year old. Bonus points for ones that are available as an audiobook, so we can listen to them when we're in the car.

We generally listen to podcasts in the car, and my son's favorite is The Alien Adventures of Finn Caspian, but we've listened to all of it multiple times. We have an upcoming road trip and are hoping to entertain him with one long story instead of a huge number of shorter podcasts.
posted by noneuclidean to Writing & Language (12 answers total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
Magic treehouse? We have the first 4 books on cd. Galaxy zack is tedious and repetitive but my kids LOVE them.
posted by Valancy Rachel at 2:32 PM on December 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

How to Train Your Dragon - Cressida Cowell. David Tennant does the audiobooks (or at least, he does in the UK) and is fantastic. The books are far more fantastical than the movie (good though the film was, it's a very very loose adaptation of the main characters).
posted by giraffeneckbattle at 3:03 PM on December 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

The writing in Peter Pan is really lovely.
posted by theora55 at 3:38 PM on December 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

Doctor Who has a bazillion tie-in books, audio books, and audio dramas. The New Series Adventures books and the audio versions of those books are appropriate for kids.
posted by soren_lorensen at 4:21 PM on December 3, 2017

My son was five when we read the first Harry Potter book. We have him on a one-book-per-year schedule so he doesn't get ahead of himself, and most years we reread the previous one before diving into the next. The audiobooks are supposed to be great, too.

My friend's son really loved the audiobook of The True Meaning of Smekday, which was the basis of the movie Home. I think they listened at about that age. It was a bit complicated for my son, but the different scenes are pretty fun (even if he can't follow the plot), and the reader is excellent.

Also maybe The Little Prince?

Not an audiobook, but I'd also suggest the comic series Zita the Space Girl for that age, which is FABULOUS.
posted by gideonfrog at 4:47 PM on December 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

My son went for the Moomin books. Start at the beginning--they get gloomier and more grown-up later in the series.
posted by bfields at 4:53 PM on December 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

The Wizard of Oz books. Seconding The Little Prince. There are quite a few Roald Dahl books that might work (BFG, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory).
posted by shalom at 5:02 PM on December 3, 2017 [2 favorites]

The Wild Robot by Peter Brown is a lovely book, and the audio held my kids captive as well

Kenneth Oppel writes books that translate well to audio, but may be too old. It's worth a look though.

posted by Ftsqg at 5:17 PM on December 3, 2017 [1 favorite]

The Secrets of Droon series is pretty enjoyable for a 4-5 year old, though not terribly interesting to adults. It's a series of short chapter books for beginning readers. The simple language and easy to follow plot make beginning chapter books like that good read-alouds for 4 year olds. My kids liked Secrets of Droon at around that age. They're available as audio books.

My Father's Dragon and the two sequels would also be good choices and slightly more enjoyable for an adult. They're available as audio books.

The Wonderful Flight to the Mushroom Planet would probably work. So would Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman.

George's Secret Key to the Universe is probably better for kids who are a little older, but some 4-5 year olds might enjoy it. There are sequels.

The Green Book by Jill Paton Walsh is another possibility.

Ronia, the Robber's Daughter is fantasy. It's one of my favorite books ever and my kids enjoyed it around that age. (The ideal age for it would be a bit older, but it's worth listening to multiple times.) Mio, My Son and The Brothers Lionheart are other fantasy books by Astrid Lindgren that could work for a kid that age. (But be aware that any of these could be too scary for some young kids and The Brothers Lionheart is about kids who die, which could be disturbing.)
posted by Redstart at 5:43 PM on December 3, 2017 [3 favorites]

Books I've read/am reading to my almost-4yo:
The Search for Delicious (a less known book by Natalie Babbitt, totally charming)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
James and the Giant Peach
My Father's Dragon and sequels
The Phantom Tollbooth
The Borrowers
A Wrinkle in Time
posted by Cygnet at 5:45 PM on December 3, 2017 [4 favorites]

The True Meaning of Smekday by Adam Rex!
posted by exceptinsects at 9:44 AM on December 4, 2017

I was super into Bruce Coville around that age, maybe a little older. He has a ton of books that are mostly 'standard' fantasy or urban fantasy. I loved the Unicorn Chronicles and the Odder anthologies -- the Odder anthologies are so good that I have read them several times as an adult, still hold up. If he likes horror at all, Christopher Pike has some pre-teen books that were a lot of fun -- Spooksville is the one series I remember the most. Some of Tamora Pierce's early novels might also be good -- the Squire series is probably appropriate and stars a really kick-ass girl who trains as a knight. Neil Gaiman's childrens books are very good, but can be scary (Coraline for example).
posted by possibilityleft at 10:37 AM on December 4, 2017

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