The best books for 3 and 4-year-olds

Spark your child's love of reading with these brilliant books for 3- and 4-year-olds.

by Sam Book
3 minutes to read
The Gruffalo, The Pop-Up Dear Zoo and I Am Perfectly Designed book covers

By exploring and having new experiences, 3- and 4-year-old children absorb and learn more about the world around them every single day. These toddler years are also when most children start to recognise letters, sounds and written words and are the perfect time to get them ready for their first school days. If you're the parent of an energetic preschooler or looking for a gift for a little one in your life, read on for our edit of the best picture, sticker and pop-up books for 3- and 4-year-olds. 

The best picture books for 3- and 4-year-olds 

Perfect to read together, these picture books are packed with engaging illustrations, loveable characters and – most importantly – stories you'll want to return to time and again. Find more suggestions for the best picture books for kids here. 

The Gruffalo

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for The Gruffalo

Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

A mouse took a stroll through the deep dark wood.

A fox saw the mouse and the mouse looked good… 

Preschoolers all over the world have fallen in love with Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's classic tale. With its fun rhyming verse and colourful illustrations – with lots of details for little ones to find – this heartwarming story of a little mouse and a not-so-terrifying monster is a must-have for any child's bookshelf.  Find more Gruffalo books and activities here. 

Room on the Broom

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for Room on the Broom

Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

When a kind witch agrees to let her friends hitch a ride on her broom, she gets more than she bargained for . . .  and soon has to ask her new animal pals to save her from the greedy dragon. This classic story of friendship is perfect to read with your preschooler or for them to enjoy on their own. Get inspiration for fun Room on the Broom activities for kids here. 

What the Ladybird Heard


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Illustrated by Lydia Monks

Join the little crime-busting ladybird and her friends on the farm as they try to stop a crafty duo of robbers from stealing the farmer's prize cow in this brilliant picture book for 3- and 4-year-olds. You’re guaranteed to giggle at this fantastically funny story from Julia Donaldson and Lydia Monks. 

Smelly Louie

by Catherine Rayner

Book cover for Smelly Louie

Smelly Louie is the smelliest dog you could ever meet, and he's proud of it! So you can imagine that when he's forced to have a bath, Louie is not happy. Join the stinkiest dog in town as he searches for the odours that will help him get back his Special Smell in this funny picture book for 3- and 4-year-olds. It’s perfect for kids who are fascinated by all things gross.

I Am Perfectly Designed

by Karamo Brown

Book cover for I Am Perfectly Designed

Illustrated by Anoosha Syed

A story of loving who you are from Queer Eye's Karamo Brown and his son Jason, I Am Perfectly Designed follows a young boy and his father as they walk around the city together and share all the reasons they are perfect for each other. This is a fantastic book to read with your 3- or 4-year-old, and one that older siblings and other family members will love too. Why not read the book together and then create a version of the story about your family?



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Illustrated by Sharon King-Chai

Learn about the natural world and have lots of fun doing it with this beautiful book by Julia Donaldson and Sharon King-Chai. With animal facts, brightly coloured illustrations and a fun guessing game, young children will learn about lots of exotic creatures, while at the same time learning how to use simple comparison words and adjectives when talking about their favourite critters.

The Truth About Old People


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This lovable and laugh-out-loud picture book from the winner of the 2017 Macmillan Prize for Illustration is a tribute to grandparents and older people everywhere. Join Elina Ellis as she shows that age has no bearing on how amazing you are, and celebrates that being older doesn't mean you have to be slow, or boring or quiet at all!  

The best sticker and activity books for 3- and 4-year-olds

These fun activity books are perfect for keeping little hands occupied and developing children's fine motor skills. Find more sticker and activity books for kids of all ages here

The Dear Zoo Drawing and Colouring Book

by Rod Campbell

Book cover for The Dear Zoo Drawing and Colouring Book

Children will have hours of fun colouring bananas for the naughty monkey, giving the fierce lion a set of sharp teeth, and learning how to draw their favourite zoo creatures in this activity book. Based on Rod Campbell's classic tale and packed with engaging activities designed especially for preschoolers, this book makes a great addition to the shelf of any 3- or 4-year-old.

The Snail and the Whale Sticker Book

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for The Snail and the Whale Sticker Book

Illustrated by Axel Scheffler

Take a trip to the coast with this sticker book based on Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler's seaside tale The Snail and The Whale. With fun games, craft activities and over 400 colourful stickers, children will love seeing the little snail and the enormous whale's story come to life as they get creative. Find more books for children who love The Snail and the Whale here. 

The best pop-up books for 3- and 4-year-olds

Make storytime even more fun with these pop-up books for 3- and 4-year-olds. Find more of the best pop-up books for children here.

The Pop-Up Dear Zoo

by Rod Campbell

Book cover for The Pop-Up Dear Zoo

Rod Campbell’s The Pop-Up Dear Zoo is full of surprises. Kids of all ages will have tonnes of fun reading this interactive book together, and even if your preschooler isn’t starting to read yet, they’ll love helping to tell the story as they discover animals hidden on every page.

Enchanted Castle

by Yu-hsuan Huang

Book cover for Enchanted Castle

Illustrated by Yu-hsuan Huang

When Princess Sophia falls into an enchanted sleep, it's up to her plucky friends to save her and wake her up in time for her to marry handsome Prince Ethan. Part of a series of three magical pop-up storybooks, Enchanted Castle lets children bring Sophia's story to life in three beautifully illustrated pop-up scenes.