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06 July 2007 @ 10:56 am
Books for 4 year olds  
G.'s birthday is approaching which means Bill and I have entered our customary book-buying frenzy.

Does anyone have any recommendations for good books for 4-year-olds (I'm particularly looking at ladyofastolat here)? G. likes books with a bit of a story (although she seems to find ladybird fairytales retold a little complex) but short enough to be read in one sitting (mind you she was keen on "Fantastic Mr Fox" but I've not had any success with other longer books such as "The Owl who was Afraid of the Dark" or "Miss Happiness and Miss Flower" but this might mean that we should get hold of a few longer stories for later in the year).

She's right on the edge of being able to read (knows all the letters recognises a few "key words" (cat, dog, G., the, and) by sight and can puzzle out simple phonics (three letter words with a short vowel sound in the middle mostly)) and is interested in the concept of the Peter and Jane books but, I think, finds them both a little dull and a lot of hard work - something which perhaps had bits for me to read and then simple bits for her to read might be good, if anyone knows of such a thing, so that the pace and interest was maintained alongside some reading practice.

She also appears fond of poetry (She has a poetry book mostly aimed at much younger children of which she is fond, but she also likes Old Possum's book of Cats).

philmophlegm: Wrexham club shieldphilmophlegm on July 6th, 2007 11:28 am (UTC)
I'm catching up on my Rev W Awdry at the moment. Last night's book: "James the Red Engine".

Elaine of Astolat: Library ladyladyofastolat on July 6th, 2007 04:00 pm (UTC)
I am probably going to fail professionally here. My knowledge of books for 4 year olds is mostly limited to books that read aloud well to a mixed ability group of 3 and 4 year olds. I go for picture books with a lot of interaction, noise and leaping around. However, reading alone at home is rather different, and allows books that are longer, and quieter. Since I've not worked on a library counter for years, I don't get to see what real children are actually borrowing day to day - though I know that anything by Julia Donaldson leaps off the shelf, for Gruffalo-related reasons.

There are quite a lot of new series aimed at very early readers - books designed for home use, and not as part of a boring school reading scheme. They're far more interesting than the old Peter and Jane readers, but still, of course, have a very limited vocabulary. It is far far better for children this age to sit and listen to a a wonderful story read aloud with a rich vocabulary than struggle through a dull story told with a 50 word vocabulary.

Children this age don't tend to have favourite authors, but they often get attached to illustrators, although they don't realise it. (Anything at all illustrated by Nick Sharratt just flies off the shelf, for example.) If she has an old favourite picture book, it could be worth seeing if that illustrator also illustrates some stories that are ever so slightly longer. A familiar style of pictures can be a way in.

louisedennislouisedennis on July 16th, 2007 02:41 pm (UTC)
Well I've bought The Snail and the Whale by Julia Donaldson: Gwendolen's not ever shown much interest in the Gruffalo but since my Mum plays quartets with Julia Donaldson's husbands it will earn me family brownie points if nothing else. I also got Mixed Up Fairy Tales by Nick Sharratt. Then I added to that Where the Wild Things Are on the grounds that its a classic, the Scooby Doo! Storybook Collection (good reviews on Amazon and Gwendolen's a big Scooby Doo fan), First Thousand Words (on educational grounds), Mr. Happy and Mr. Small to add to her ever expanding Mr. Men library (I'm not sure she likes the stories so much but, daughter of her mother, she likes the fact its a collection) and Space Case (Totally Spies! Ready-To-Read) combining educational worthiness with another of Gwendolen's favourite TV programs. At this point I thought I'd better stop as this was probably enough for one birthday.