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.

Toddler years are 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 our edit of the best picture, sticker and pop-up books for 3 and 4-year-olds. 

For more inspiration, discover our best picture books for kids

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

I Love Me!

by Diane Ewen

Book cover for I Love Me!

Positive statements for little readers, written by Marvyn Harrison who founded Dope Black Dads, and illustrated by Diane Ewen who created the illustrations for Floella Benjamin's Coming to England. The book is full of engaging and uplifting affirmations for every day of the week, helping young children prepare for nursery and school, including useful tips for parents and carers of young children.

The Grumpus

by Alex T. Smith

Book cover for The Grumpus

The Grumpus has a Dastardly, Dreadful Christmas Plan. Inspired by The Krampus and with a hint of The Grinch, The Grumpus is a heartwarming story that celebrates the true meaning of Christmas. From Alex T. Smith, bestselling author of the Claude series and How Winston Delivered Christmas, comes a fantastically festive Christmas adventure about this gorgeous grumpy character, that you won't want to miss.

Mole's Spectacles

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for Mole's Spectacles

Lift the flaps and join in the fun with Mole's Spectacles, a brilliant story in the bestselling Tales from Acorn Wood preschool series by Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, creators of The Gruffalo. Mole has lost his spectacles. He searches all around his house, in the garden and even in Weasel's sweetshop, but he can't find them anywhere! Where could they be? Lift the flaps to help him find them.

There Was a Young Zombie Who Swallowed a Worm

by Kaye Baillie

Book cover for There Was a Young Zombie Who Swallowed a Worm

Everyone's heard about the old lady who swallowed a fly, but now it’s time to meet a little zombie, who's swallowed . . . a worm. The perfect children's book for Halloween and beyond, kids will adore this funny, cumulative rhyming story packed with toads, witches, bats, trolls and a VERY hungry little zombie, brought to life by bestselling illustrator Diane Ewen.

Once Upon A Fairytale

Book cover for Once Upon A Fairytale

In this captivating book, every reader chooses the story they want to tell – empowering children to become storytellers and weave their very own fairytale. Children can choose to be a clever princess, or a curious gingerbread man, or perhaps a gentle knight; maybe they'll live in a tree, or a tower on a hill. They can eat fresh-buttered sunbeams with fairies, or newt pie and pigtail pudding with ogres. Everywhere they look, they'll find a new adventure.

Five Bears

by Catherine Rayner

Book cover for Five Bears

Bear is walking through the forest, minding his own business when he comes across another bear. The Other bear is different. The two bears wander along, thinking different thoughts, and looking in different directions. Soon the two bears come across another bear and then another bear and eventually find a bear stuck in a tree. The bears realise that perhaps they aren't that different after all and perhaps they could be friends?

Too Many Tickles!

by Thomas Taylor

Book cover for Too Many Tickles!

Run around the house with two small kids as they wriggle and run away from their tickling parents and grandparents. Will the kids be able to turn the tables, and reply with a few tickles of their own? Award-winning writer Thomas Taylor brings the tongue-twisting text to this tale, while Penny Dann illustrates with lively, playful drawings of all the ticklish fun.

The Singing Mermaid 10th Anniversary Edition

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for The Singing Mermaid 10th Anniversary Edition

The Singing Mermaid is looking for fame and a fortune, so she signs up with Sam Sly's circus. But the mean circus owner keeps her trapped in a tank, and she yearns to return to her home under the waves. With sparkling rhyming verse by treasured author Julia Donaldson and bright illustrations by Lydia Monks,The Singing Mermaid i both children and their parents.

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

by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for What the Ladybird Heard

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. 

What the Ladybird Heard at Christmas

Book cover for What the Ladybird Heard at Christmas

What the Ladybird Heard at Christmas is the latest title in this beloved series and the perfect book to read with little ones during the festive run-up. In a big old house, the ladybird is visiting her friend the spider for the festive season. But those two bad men, Hefty Hugh and Lanky Len, are up to no good again. The clever little ladybird has overheard their devious plan - to steal the children's Christmas presents, and she has a cunning plan to make sure they don't get away with it! 

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?


by Julia Donaldson

Book cover for Animalphabet

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

by Elina Ellis

Book cover for The Truth About Old People

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

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

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

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.