Chapter Books for a 4 Year Old

Updated on January 03, 2012
K.U. asks from Detroit, MI
21 answers

My daughter is 4 and while she is not reading independently yet, she loves being read to. Reading to her is part of our nightly bedtime routine (and naps too, when they happen). We have our books at home and regularly get books from the library but even then, I was getting bored with reading the same picture books over and over. So a few weeks ago I started reading "Charlotte's Web" to her. I told her there are picture books and there are chapter books. Chapter books are longer and can't all be read in one night, but are divided up into chapters, each chapter tells part of the story, and we could read 1 chapter every night. So we did (plus still one picture book each night too). We just finished tonight and she loved it. She couldn't wait to read each chapter and when we read the last chapter tonight and was done, she was asking for more. So now I am wondering (and I feel like I should already know this) what other chapter books anyone can recommend. I figured maybe the others by E.B. White - "Stuart Little" and "The Trumpet of the Swan" - and the first Little House book (because that's what I remember as a kid!), but can anyone suggest anything else? I've heard mixed reviews of Junie B. Jones - some love her and others really don't. Anything else that would be appropriate and not over her head? TIA!

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So What Happened?

Ah yes, poetry. Maybe it's time to introduce her to some Shel Silverstein as well. Gave my 6 year old nephew "Where the Sidewalk Ends" for his birthday this past summer and he loved it - so he got "A Light in the Attic" for Christmas.

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answers from Tampa on

My son loves the Magic Tree House series! The chapters are short so you can read a couple each night. There are clues so you really want to try to read them in order. Also, you can ask her questions after the chapter about events that happened and what she think might happen next. These are good for comprehension skills and she might not even realize what you are doing :>) The A - Z mysteries are good also. Try the web site for James Patterson. He is an author but promotes kids reading. He has book lists for recommendations! I am a teacher and LOVE to hear about parents reading to their children!!!!!!!!!! Especially the classics :>) ENJOY!

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answers from San Diego on

I don't love Junie B Jones. Magic Tree House series will keep you busy and my daughter loves Flat Stanley. She may also like Magic School Bus.

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answers from Kansas City on

My (just turned 4) son liked Fantastic Mr. Fox by Roald Dahl. I remember liking Frog and Toad books and Amelia Bedelia books when I was little.

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answers from Chicago on

We just read Stuart Little, Charlotte's Web and Little House this past year to our 4 year old as well. Big hits! I have been using as a guide Jim Trelease's book The Read Aloud Handbook. It has a treasury of stories arranged by age and is a great resource. It's where I got the idea to read those to her this year in the first place. Also, I would recommend poetry. There are some lovely poetry collections at the library in the young reader's section.

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answers from Grand Rapids on

My 6 year old son loves the books in the Magic Tree House series by Mary Pope Osborne. The books are about a brother and sister team who go on adventures together. We have been reading them for the past year or two. The chapters aren't too long and there are occasional pictures. I definitely recommend these books!

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answers from Austin on

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
The mouse and the Motorcycle
Yes to Stuart Little

The Doll People by Ann Martin

Our daughter loved Lynn Banks books at this age, but you need to look at them and see if you think your daughter would enjoy them.. I Houdini was one of her favorites at this age. She also liked the Rebel Fairy book.. but again, not all children this age, might be into this.

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answers from Washington DC on

My daughter told me Junie B Jones was stupid when she was 6. She said they were mean to each other. So that was enough for me never to read them or get them from the library for her sister.

E.B. White books
Little House
Besty, Tacy, and Tibb
The All of a Kind Family
Skippyjohn Jones, ---OK, not a chapter book but the funniest books out there, it's the adventures of a cat who thinks he's a chihuahua.
Amelia Bedelia
Ramona and Beezus, there's a lot of these
Frog and Toad
Wizard of Oz
Children's version of the Odyssey, Libraries have them

Go to the library and look for the books you used to enjoy as a child. I have had the best time rereading the classics, even now as my daughter is in high school. We have just finished White Fang with my 10 and 14 year olds.

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answers from Detroit on

Ugh, My DD loves Junie B, but personally, I can't stand them! How about

Rainbow Fairy books

Ramona books (beverly cleary)

Charlie and the chocolate factory

Ivy and Bean

Cam Jansen

box car children

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answers from Washington DC on

At that age my son and I read the BFG, but it IS scary/weird as are all of Raul Dahl's books, so keep that in mind. Also his books are pretty long, so you may want to read more than one chapter a night.

We also read the Ralph S. Mouse books: The Mouse and the Motorcycle, Ralph S. Mouse etc.

I loved Ramona Quimby when I was little, you might give those a try. There's a whole series so she can get into the characters.

Really, I'd suggest a trip to the public library. Find the children's librarian and talk to her about what you might be looking for. She'll have some GREAT suggestions! Librarians are way under utilized these days... they have degrees in library studies and know a TON about books for kids. They'll be able to give better advice than any of us!

Hope this helps,

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answers from Pittsburgh on

The Wind in he Willows, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, Charlie & the Chocolate Factory, anything by Shel Silverstein, the classics--Treasure Island, Black Beauty, etc.

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answers from Detroit on

I LOVE the suggestions below - which I'm going to use myself. I just wanted to add Heidi to your list. I just bought it for my 7 year old and I to read. I remember reading the book and watching Shirley Temple in the movie as a kid - yep, I'm dating myself there, I know. I really enjoyed it.

Good Luck!

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answers from San Francisco on

Great suggestions below! I didn't see Mrs. Piggly Wiggly's Magic. So glad you are reading so much to her!

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answers from Las Vegas on

James and the giant peach!

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answers from Seattle on

We have been reading Amelia Bedelia, Frog and Toad, Winnie the Pooh and Pippi Longstocking. We usually get those books from the library to see whether DD likes them, before we buy and add to her collection. We have tried a couple she didn't like either, just give it a try for a chapter or two and be open to moving on if that particular title doesn't click(yet).

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answers from Sacramento on

My all time favorite kids chapter book is The Wind in the Willows. I remember my mom reading it to me, and I read it again when i got older. It is such a great book! My mom even bought fore to read to my sons, as I lost my original one when i moved once...

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answers from Detroit on

We have read my son "The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe" twice now (he's 6) which he really loved and he's a huge fan of Jonathan Rand's Michigan Chillers and American Chillers, although they can be a little scary.

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answers from Rochester on

I'd go for "classics" more than Junie B...which just aren't as great as all the books you could read.

Ramona books are great...most other things by Cleary, too (I think she wrote a book about a mouse named Ralph, or something.)

Roald Dahl (maybe I spelled it wrong...) you know, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The Big Friendly Giant, James and the Giant Peach, Matilda, etc...

Harriet the Spy (the original) is a great book...

My daughter personally loves my old "Bad News Ballet" could probably find them cheap online, if your daughter likes dance. They're funny, and fun.

Baby-Sitters Club...maybe not classics, but a lot of fun regardless...

I've got so many more, but probably above what a four year old is going to pay attention to.

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answers from Detroit on

I'll add the Geronimo Stilton books to the list.



answers from Phoenix on

Magic Tree House Series
Where the Red Fern Grows



answers from Detroit on

Judy Moody series
The Tales of Devereaux
The Mercy Watson series
Nancy Drew and the Clue Crew
Mr. Putty and Tabby



answers from Dallas on

How about some of the Thornton W. Burgess books?

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