Top 10 Best Books for 4-year-olds

There are all sorts of colourful, quirky books available that little ones will adore - and so will their parents! Browse this list of our very favourites, from timeless tales like We're Going on a Bear Hunt to brand new adventures like Gordon's Great Escape.

1. We're Going on a Bear Hunt

Michael Rosen & Helen Oxenbury

This beautiful children's classic features fun sing-song verse and stunning pictures by brilliant illustrator, Helen Oxenbury. It follows a family going on a walk, squelching through mud and splashing through puddles, in search of a bear! But will they be prepared for the surprise that awaits them in the cave? Kids will love this engaging story.

2. Danny McGee Drinks the Sea

Andy Stanton & Neal Layton

Surely it's impossible to drink the sea - or is it? Danny McGee does just that - and now, he has his sights on other crazy things! It's not long before he's gulping down trees, flies, fleas, peas, mountains and more, but where will it end?! This wonderful book comes from the brilliant Andy Stanton, award-winning author of the Mr Gum books.

3. Elmer and the Flood

David McKee

After being cooped up with the herd, Elmer longs for some fresh air and peace and quiet. But when he goes outside, he discovers that the relentless rain has caused a flood! Will he be able to find a way to save a stranded little elephant? Generations of little ones have adored Elmer's exciting adventures.

4. The Owl Who was Afraid of the Dark

Jill Tomlinson & Paul Howard

This gorgeously-illustrated book is the perfect bedtime story for little ones, particularly those who are afraid of the dark! It features a baby owl called Plop who is absolutely terrified of the dark, but overcomes his fears as he meets different reassuring characters, and learns all about why darkness is wonderful and important.

5. Penguin Problems

Jory John & Lane Smith

In this hilarious, delightful book, little ones can learn all about what penguin life is really like - and it's not as fun and carefree as you might think! Firstly, it's really, really cold in Antarctica, but worse than that, penguins must evade lots of sinister predators. Plus, can you imagine trying to find your mum in an enormous crowd of nearly-identical penguins?! Kids will adore this brilliant book, as will their parents!

6. Moomin Picture Book Collection: 6 Books

Tove Jansson

These much-loved Moomin tales will delight little ones with engaging stories and beautiful, dreamlike illustrations. Moomintroll wants to celebrate his birthday, but thinks that everyone has forgotten about it! Is he right? He must also look after a special telescope, but refuses to share it with anyone. It's not long before he's bored all by himself, and learns to appreciate the value of sharing. Enjoy these stories and more with this gorgeous collection.

7. Dinosaur Roar!

Henrietta Stickland & Paul Stickland

This bestselling picture book has been endorsed by the Natural History Museum. It's a stunning, vibrant book, featuring a cast of colourful dinosaurs! The story is packed with fun rhyming text, perfect for reading aloud, and children will love the eye-catching pictures. The book even includes a pull-out poster!

8. Blue Penguin

Petr Horacek

This heart-warming fable about friendship and belonging features a penguin who's a little different from the rest: he's blue! He wants to belong and feel part of the huddle, but can he convince the others that he is one of them after all? This story is perfect for teaching kids that it is our differences that make us unique and special.

9. The Fox and the Star

Coralie Bickford-Smith

This magical, poignant tale - told through captivating text and dazzling illustrations - is all about friendship, loss and courage. Fox lives in a deep, dense forest, and for as long as he can remember, his only friend has been Star, who illuminates the forest paths each night. But one night, Star disappears, and Fox must face a daunting journey through the shadowy forest alone, in order to find his missing Star.

10. Gordon's Great Escape

Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet

This enthralling story features a favourite childhood delight :- a balloon! Follow Gordon the balloon on his adventures around the world - earning new things, meeting new people and avoiding all sorts of dangers - as he travels with a colourful, exciting circus. But what will happen when a perilous storm hits their ship, and they are left stranded on a deserted island? It's up to Gordon to save the day!

  • DIX2 3 years +
    3 years +
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    Endorsed by the Natural History Museum, Dinosaur Roar! is a bestselling picture book that is widely heralded as a modern classic.

    Full of cheerful rhyming text, it's perfect for reading aloud and the images are truly eye-catching. Ideal for preschoolers who are fascinated by all things prehistoric, the book even includes a pull-out poster.
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    The moving story of a fox, a star and an eternal friendship, written and beautifully illustrated by the award-winning Coralie Bickford-Smith - chosen as Waterstones Book of the Year, selected in Time Out's 100 Best Children's Books and loved by parents and children alike. 'Brilliant ...A delight' Philip Pullman 'A star book for all ages ...the sort you want to keep for ever' Kate Kellaway, Observer 'I would like to frame each page' Lauren Child, Guardian, Books of the Year 'My picture book of the year ...outstanding' Amanda Craig, New Statesman
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    Rain or no rain, Elmer is going for a walk. After being cooped up in a cave with his herd, he longs for a bit of fresh air and some peace and quiet. But peace and quiet is going to have to wait - when Elmer goes outside, he discovers the rain has caused a flood. Can brave Elmer work out a way to save a stranded young elephant?
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    'We're going on a bear hunt. We're going to catch a big one. Will you come too?'

    For a quarter of a century, readers have been swishy-swashying and splash-sploshing through this award-winning favourite from Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury. Presented here in board book form, it's a bear-illiant, rhyming story that children will absolutely love!

    Children will love to follow and join in the family's excitement as they wade through the grass, splash through the river and squelch through the mud in search of a bear. But are they ready for the surprise that awaits them in the cave on the other side of the dark forest?
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    Follow Gordon the Balloon on his adventures around the world; learning new things, meeting people and avoiding all the dangers which come with being a balloon. Gordon is having a great time travelling with the circus when a storm hits their ship, leaving them stranded on an island! What will they do? Lost in the middle of the ocean and with no means of escape, it's up to Gordon to save the day. The bestselling, award-winning Sue and Paul bring their brilliant comedic talents to this incredibly child-friendly idea that has the possibility to develop into a wider series.
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    Jill Tomlinson's book The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark is a lovely, reassuring picture book to read to youngsters who are scared of the dark.

    Plop is a baby Barn Owl who hates the dark but as he meets different people in the book, he overcomes his fears and learns about all the reasons why darkness is wonderful and important.

    Stunning illustrations by Paul Howard and a touching storyline make The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark a delightful and comforting picture book for children aged 3 and over.
  • Moomin Picture Book Collection - 6 Books - Collection - 9780141375045 - Tove Jansson
    MMIN 3 years +
    3 years +
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    • Just £1.33 per book
    Inspired by Tove Jansson's much-loved Moomins stories, these picture books will introduce children to the friendly characters and are full of simple plots and funny antics.

    Throughout the books, Moomintroll celebrates his birthday but thinks people have forgotten all about it. When there's a knock on the door, he wonders who it can be...

    He also has to look after a special telescope but won't share it with anyone. It's not long before he's bored on his own and learns to appreciate the value of sharing; and starts to miss his best friend, Snuffkin, as he travels south for the winter.
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    A heart-warming fable about a friendship and belonging from the award-winning illustrator Petr Horacek. "I feel just like a penguin," says Blue Penguin. "But you're not like us," said the other penguins and they left him all alone. Poor Blue Penguin. Will he be able to convince the other penguins he is one of them after all? A moving and beautifully illustrated story from Petr Horacek, an illustrator described by the Washington Post as "the thinking tot's Eric Carle".
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    A hilariously anarchic tale from the inimitable Andy Stanton, author of Mr Gum, and much loved illustrator Neal Layton. Can a boy drink the sea? Surely it's impossible! But Danny McGee does just that - and now he has his sights on other things. Soon he's swallowing trees, flies, fleas, peas, mountains ...where will it end?! Andy Stanton has won a string of awards for his Mr Gum books, including the Red House Children's Book Award, the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, and the Blue Peter Book Award for Best Book With Pictures. Neal Layton is the multi-award-winning illustrator of the Emily Brown books.
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    In this hilarious first collaboration from Jory John and Lane Smith, a penguin levels with human readers about what penguin life is really like ...and it isn't all fun and games! Have you ever considered running away to Antarctica? Of course you have! Because it's a land free of worries and responsibilities! Think again, my friend. This penguin has come to tell you that his life down there is no picnic. For starters, it is FREEZING. Also, penguins have loads of natural predators. Plus, can you imagine trying to find your mum in a big crowd of identical penguins? This book is sure to tickle all funny bones, and will elicit appreciative sighs from the adults reading it aloud, too!