Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old

Posted by: MAmom

Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/11/13 05:46 AM

I was wondering if anyone can recommend any content appropriate chapter books for my DS4? I can't seem to find many that don't involve elementary school social dynamics or scary topics. Thanks.
Posted by: master of none

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/14/13 06:23 PM

Mr. Putter and Tabby
Henry and Mudge
Encyclopedia Brown
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/14/13 06:44 PM

The Mouse and the Motorcycle
The Boxcar Children (?)

Might need to preview to check content-- some scary sections in both for a 4yo, probably.
Posted by: DeHe

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/14/13 07:35 PM

ABC mysteries, Calendar mysteries by Ron Roy. DS loved them at 4-5 and we loved them because there was no friend drama whatsoever!!! They liked each other, their parents were nice. No orphans! But they had a neat little mystery to it.

Frog and Toad
Commander toad series by Jane yolen - hilarious rip off of Star Trek
Magic school bus chapter books - the science and language are actually easier than the original picture books - which I highly recommend too
Mammoth academy series by Neil Layton
Posted by: DeeDee

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/14/13 08:20 PM

George and Martha series

I would also not necessarily jump to chapter books at 4. For read-aloud, great-- but know that picture books have gotten much more complex and interesting in recent years. Befriend a children's librarian and let them help you choose.

DeeDee
Posted by: McSweeney

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/14/13 08:40 PM

I would second all of the choices on here (although I have bypassed the Boxcar Children for my newly 4-year-old). We've also had success with:

Series:
Cam Jansen
Nate the Great
Bones

Authors we love:
Arnold Lobel
Cynthia Rylant
Doug Cushman (Aunt Eater Loves a Mystery and others)
Kevin Henkes (not chapter books but nice stories and pictures)

As a space fanatic, he loves the Commander Toad series.

We've just started getting into Magic Treehouse, which I was concerned would be too scary. However, he's loved the three that we've read. Likewise, we've also just started reading the A-Z mysteries, which again have received a good reception (and are not too scary, but usually involve robberies - so I've had to explain the legal system to him, which we now reenact with Legos).

I like the suggestion of picture books. I haven't had much luck with our librarians. Can anyone suggest good picture books for 4-year-old readers, too?
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/14/13 09:49 PM

Oh, SO glad that someone mentioned Magic Tree House. DD devoured those when she was about five. She also really liked the DK Eyewitness books and Magic Schoolbus.

Another set of books that my DD was very fond of--

the Frances books,

the Little Bear books.

She also REALLY loved all of Jan Brett's books at about this age-- the illustrations are lovely and intricate, and there is a considerable amount of text on each page in some of them.
Posted by: ElizabethN

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/14/13 09:57 PM

Originally Posted By: mcswones
I like the suggestion of picture books. I haven't had much luck with our librarians. Can anyone suggest good picture books for 4-year-old readers, too?

Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs - endlessly funny.
Posted by: HowlerKarma

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/14/13 10:07 PM

One thing that we found helpful in finding books that were generally good quality (as opposed to looking for a particular lexile level or something) was to run down the Caldecott medalist lists (and later, the Newbery winner and honor books).

Since we were checking things out at the library, I didn't worry too much if something were a real hit with DD or not. If not, back it went, and if so, well, then if she LOVED it so much that I had to renew it several times... that was a book that we put on our wishlist.

Some of the wonderful picture books that we bought because we loved them so much:

Sun Bread
Imogen's Antlers
The Rainbow Goblins
Doctor Dog (this one may appeal to the same crowd that will later fall head over heels for Captain Underpants, by the way, but we LOVE this book and still recite it sing-song occasionally.)


I also bought some beautifully illustrated books of poetry for children, a complete set of Shel Silverstein, and several nicely illustrated editions of Alice in Wonderland, the Wizard of Oz, The Velveteen Rabbit, and fairy tale anthologies. Kate diCamillo is probably just a touch old as of yet-- but Edward Tulane is a lovely story which is probably great even now as a read-aloud, and the illustrations are wonderful.

Mary Poppins.

Generally, as you go OLDER (in terms of publication dates), you get higher lexiles with lower "interest" scores. That is, the younger content comes with higher level literacy. It also, unfortunately, comes with some interesting cultural baggage at times, so do be cautious about that and read carefully.





Posted by: ultramarina

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/15/13 05:40 AM

For you to read aloud or to read solo?
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/15/13 05:42 AM

Here's my list of sophisticated/harder picture books:

Sophisticated Picture Books for Older Kids

The Raft—Jim LaMarche
Bartholomew and the Oobleck—Dr. Seuss
The 500 Hats of Bartholomew Cubbins—Dr. Seuss
Yertle the Turtle—Dr. Seuss
The Lorax—Dr. Seuss
The Country Bunny and the Little Gold Shoes—DuBose Heyward
Roxaboxen—Barbara Cooney
Miss Rumphius—Barbara Cooney
One Morning in Maine—Robert McCloskey
Time of Wonder—Robert McCloskey
The Wump World—Bill Peet
The Ant and the Elephant—Bill Peet
No Such Things—Bill Peet
(many other great Bill Peet books)
The Velveteen Rabbit—Margery Williams Bianco
Miss Nelson is Missing—Harry Allard
The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses—Paul Goble
The Egg Tree—Katherine Milhous
Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day—Judith Viorst
Holly and Ivy—Rumer Godden
Eloise—Kay Thompson
Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs—Judi Barrett
Two Bad Ants—Chris Van Allsburg
The Polar Express--Chris Van Allsburg
Insects are My Life and Reptiles are My Life—Megan McDonald
Amos & Boris—William Steig
The 13 Clocks—James Thurber
Many Moons—James Thurber
Dr. Xargle's Book of Earthlets (and other Dr. Xargle books)--Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross
The Stinky Cheese Man--Jon Scieszka
Bently and Egg—William Joyce
Diary of a Worm (and others in series)—Doreen Cronin and Harry Bliss
Scaredy Squirrel (and others in series)—Melanie Watt
The Ticky-Tacky Doll—Cynthia Rylant
The Magic Schoolbus series—Joanna Cole
Three Days on a River in a Red Canoe

Posted by: ElizabethN

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/15/13 10:03 AM

Originally Posted By: MAmom
I was wondering if anyone can recommend any content appropriate chapter books for my DS4? I can't seem to find many that don't involve elementary school social dynamics or scary topics. Thanks.


Teddy Robinson
Milly Molly Mandy
Posted by: MegMeg

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/15/13 11:26 AM

For high-end picture books, try this list: http://feryoutoview.blogspot.com/
Posted by: Madoosa

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/15/13 02:42 PM

The Fly Guy Series
Henry and Mudge

My 4 year old loves loves loves these!
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/15/13 06:27 PM

I like that list, MegMeg! It does contain a number of books that are quite "young," though.
Posted by: Sweetie

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/15/13 07:49 PM

Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle
Posted by: MegMeg

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/16/13 10:26 AM

Originally Posted By: ultramarina
I like that list, MegMeg! It does contain a number of books that are quite "young," though.

Agreed. It's a mixed list.
Posted by: DeeDee

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/16/13 10:37 AM

The Littles
Posted by: ellemenope

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/16/13 11:44 AM

We loved all of the longer Suess books.

Here are some of our favorite picture books.

Tiki Tiki Tembo (Arlene Mosel)
Skippyjon Jones (Judith Byron Shochner)
The complete tales of Winnie the Pooh (A.A. Milne)
The original Wizard of Oz (L Frank Baum)
Zen shorts (John J. Muth)
Doctor De soto (William Stieg)
Shrek (William Stieg)
Anatole (Eve Titus)
Amos and Boris (William Stieg)
Many moons (James Thurber)
Sylvester and the magic pebble (William Stieg)
Catwings (Ursula K. Le Guin) Not really a picture book, but read in one sitting.
James Herriot's Treasury of Inspirational Stories for Children
The Enormous Crocodile (Roald Dahl)

Here are the chapter books we have read together. I tried to remember the order we read them in. I am sure I am leaving some out.

My father's Dragon (Ruth Stiles Gannett) Kind of boring.
The Wind in the Willows (Kenneth Grahame) Loved.
Stuart Little (E.B. White) DD liked. It got kind of weird at the end.
Charlotte's Web (E.B. White) DD liked.
The 13 Clocks (James Thurbur) We started this one but quit because of talk of slitting throats.
The Trumpet of the Swan (E.B. White) DD liked.
Toys go Out series (Emily Jenkins) Mixed reviews. DD thought funny.
Abel's Island (William Stieg) Loved.
Dominic (William Stieg) Loved.
The Real Thief (William Stieg) Adsolutely Loved.
Harry Kitten and Tucker Mouse (George Seldon) Loved.
A Cricket in Times Square (George Seldon) Kind of boring.
Mr. Popper's Penguins (Richard and Florence Atwater) Really boring.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (Roald Dahl) Loved.
James and the Giant Peach (Roald Dahl) Favorite.
The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane (Kate Dicamillo) Loved.
The Rats of NIMH (Robert C. O'brien) Kind of boring. DD thought it dragged.
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Roald Dahl) Liked.
The Indian in the cupboard (Lynne Ried Banks) Liked.
The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Beverly Clearly) Kind of boring.
Bunnicula (Deborah Howe) Liked.
The Witches (Roald Dahl) Loved.
The Secret Garden (Frances Hodgson Burnett) Liked.
Alice in Wonderland (Lewis Carrol) Liked.
The Hobbit (J.R.R. Tolkien) Loved. Kind of dragged in parts IMO.

The only book we stopped because of violence was 13 clocks. I just did not like talking about executions with my then three-year-old. I might pull that one back out now, though. After reading and enjoying The Hobbit I think she could handle almost anything. But, DD4 is not really sensitive in that regard. She loves exciting and scary stories. Her very favorite stories are by Roald Dahl. I think they are kindred spirits. We did try to avoid books that were all about school and older children for a long time. DD loved stories about animals and fantasy so that was not too hard.
Posted by: Kathie_K

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/16/13 11:48 AM

DS4 is very sensitive and picks up language (both good and bad) very quickly, so we have to be careful.

Lately he's fallen in love with the Mercy books by Kate DiCamillo. And we've moved on to the Bink and Gollie books by the same author. (These have fewer words on a page, but some sophisticated vocabulary.)
Posted by: MAmom

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/16/13 05:45 PM

Thanks all for your suggestions. I'm looking for books for DD4 to read by himself.
Posted by: McSweeney

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/16/13 08:28 PM

Wonderful suggestions everyone!
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/22/13 06:20 AM

What is his approximate reading level?
Posted by: puffin

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 01/27/13 11:53 PM

I got the first boxcar children on kindle for my ds5.5 to read. He can read it but it is ds3.5 who likes it. Ds5.5 would rather struggle through zac powers or have me read famous five or the sassafras zoology book.

you could try Horrid Henry or the Secret Seven. Lots of kids seem to like Geronimo Stilton too. I liked Jennings and Darbyshire too if you can get them (they are 50's books).
Posted by: GHS

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 02/11/13 08:11 AM

I am sure someone has said this but Magic Treehouse has been a huge hit in our house. I have been reading them to her since she was 2 and she likes to act it out after I read.
Posted by: MegMeg

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 02/11/13 08:53 AM

I'm currently reading my 4.75 yr old Carbonel, King of the Cats, by Barbara Sleigh. I'm going to skip the last couple of chapters with the battle scene, but everything else about the book is lovely.
Posted by: MAmom

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 02/17/13 09:55 PM

Originally Posted By: ultramarina
What is his approximate reading level?


I believe he is reading at a 2nd/3rd grade level.
Posted by: ellemenope

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 02/21/13 11:21 AM

Here are some Chapter Books in the 2/3 grade level. I understand the allure of a series for gaining confidence, but there are also so many picture books in this reading level as well.

end of first grade beginning of second chapter books:

The littles (first series)
Mercy Watson series
Commander Toad series

mid second grade level chapter books:

Oliver and Amanda Pig series
Billy and Blaze series
Wishbone: The Early Years series
Cam Jansen series

end of second grade level chapter books:

Rainbow Magic series
Magic Treehouse series
Matt Christopher books

end of second grade-mid third grade chapter books:

Catwings series
Flat Stanley series
A-Z Mysteries
Beverly Clearly books
The Boxcar Children series
Posted by: ultramarina

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 02/21/13 12:34 PM

Most Beverly Cleary books are actually somewhat harder, like 4th/5th grade level. They're fabulous for advanced readers, though, because the content is pretty young and innocent.

My DS5 really loves the Magic Schoolbus chapter books. They aren't great literature, but they're better than Magic Treehouse, IMO (those make me want to end it all if I have to read one aloud). I think they're 2nd/3rd grade level.
Posted by: ellemenope

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 02/21/13 01:21 PM

You are right. the Ribsy, Henry Huggins, and Ramona books are Level O (which is a mid third grade level) but also around an 800L (which is near a fifth grade level.) Yikes, what a difference. I have only been looking at Fountas and Pinnel since we figured out that that was the system used by all the schools we are looking at.

I freakin' loved those books when I was young.
Posted by: GHS

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 02/21/13 02:02 PM

DD loves Mercy Watson (great list ellemenope)
Posted by: indigo

Re: Content appropriate chapter books for 4 year old - 08/13/15 06:35 PM

Adding a link to the sticky thread at the top of the Recommended Resources forum: Book recommendations: age 0-2.

Adding a link to the sticky thread at the top of the Recommended Resources forum: Book recommendations: age 3-5.