Reading Lists (ages 4-5)

Age 4-5 Recommended Reading List

The following is a recommended list of fiction books for children from 4-5 years old. This list is by no means exhaustive and I would recommend exploring your local bookshops and libraries as well as using this list. Many of the authors on this list have written many more books that I would encourage you to explore and enjoy. The list contains a mixture of both classic storybooks and more modern releases.


There was an Old Lady who Swallowed a Fly

Pam Adams

Child’s Play (International) Ltd

Forty years after its first publication this much-loved Child’s Play classic is as popular as ever. Ingenious die-cut holes bring this iconic nursery rhyme to life, and Pam Adams’ fabulous illustrations lend humour and vibrancy to the proceedings.

The Tiger Who Came to Tea

Jill Tomlinson

HarperCollins Children’s Books

The doorbell rings just as Sophie and her mummy are sitting down to tea. Who could it possibly be? What they certainly don’t expect to see at the door is a big furry, stripy tiger! This modern classic picture book is perfect for reading aloud, or for small children to read to themselves time and again.


The Gruffalo

Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

Puffin Books

A mouse is taking a stroll through the deep, dark wood when along comes a hungry fox, then an owl, and then a snake. The mouse is good enough to eat but smart enough to know this, so he invents . . . the gruffalo!


The Cat in the Hat

Dr Seuss

HarperCollins Publishers

When the Cat in the Hat steps in on the mat, Sally and her brother are in for a roller-coaster ride of havoc and mayhem!


Winnie the Witch

Valerie Thomas & Korky Paul


Winnie lived in her black house with her cat, Wilbur. He was black too. And that is how the trouble began.


We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

Michael Rosen and Helen Oxenbury

Little Simon

Full of delightful comedy and high drama, this tale of a brave family’s joyous romp through sweeping landscapes is sure to win new fans.


Handa’s Surprise

Eileen Browne


In this picture book classic, a delightful surprise colourfully unfolds when a little girl called Handa puts seven delicious fruits in a basket to take to her friend.


The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark

Jill Tomlinson

Egmont UK Ltd

Young readers who are scared of the dark will find comfort when they read Jill Tomlinson’s The Owl Who Was Afraid of the Dark with their favourite grown-ups.


Have You Seen Elephant?

by David Barrow

Gecko Press

This hilarious book – about an elephant who wants to play hide and seek – will delight children and adults with its offbeat humour and beautiful illustration.


A Hungry Lion: or a dwindling assortment of animals

by Lucy Ruth Cummins

Simon & Schuster

The author keeps the surprises coming in this hilarious and quirkily illustrated picture book. It proves that, while you can never trust a hungry lion, there’s always a bigger eater waiting in the wings…



by Carson Ellis

Walker Books

Where is your home? Where are you? Carson Ellis explores wild and wonderful, familiar and extraordinary places that people – real and imaginary – might live.


Kitchen Disco

by Clare Foges and Al Murphy


Did you know when you go to sleep all the fruit in the bowl comes to life and has a fun-filled, night long party?


Hector and Hummingbird

by Nicholas John Frith

Scholastic/Alison Green Books

The story of Hector and Hummingbird is a lovely one for children with – sometimes irritating but always lovable – little brothers and sisters. The 1950s style and colouring of this fantastic picture book is very appealing.



by Emily Gravett

Two Hoots

Pete the badger likes to keep everything neat and tidy, but his over-zealous cleaning begins to have a damaging impact on the forest. This entertaining picture book, with its rich illustrations, carries an important environmental message.


Quick Quack Quentin

by Kes Gray and Jim Field

Hodder Children’s Books

This beautifully illustrated, colourful picture book explores spelling and letter sounds in the context of great characters and a clever quest story.


Pass It On

by Sophy Henn


The little girl in this bright, happy book embraces the simple act of passing on smiles, laughs, chuckles and whoops to others.


Colin and Lee: Carrot and Pea

by Morag Hood

Two Hoots

Colin is a carrot, and Lee is a pea. An amusing and deceptively simple look at friendship and difference, this is a lovely book for young readers.



by Yasmeen Ismail


Lila has a fabulous imaginary world: if she’s not wrestling an octopus or soaring over a jungle, she’s racing in a winged chariot. Visiting grandpa might not seem as fascinating, but he’s just as keen to join her fantasy world.


The Cloudspotter

by Tom McLaughlin


Franklin was called ‘The Cloudspotter’ – and he didn’t want to share his clouds with anyone. That’s why he pops the infuriating Scruffy Dog into a hot-air balloon and lets her fly away. A charming story about a lonely little…


A Beginner’s Guide to Bear Spotting

by Michelle Robinson and David Roberts


This amusing guide book contains an array of information about how to spot and behave around bears. The result is a stylish, highly entertaining picture book, perfect for reading aloud.


A Great Big Cuddle

by Michael Rosen and Chris Riddell

Walker Books

Beautifully illustrated poems for young children by two Children’s Laureates.


I Have an Orange Juicy Drink

by Andrew Sanders

Fat Fox

Porker has an orange juicy drink, but there’s no chance he’s going to get to drink it in peace. This book is wonderfully vibrant – and the story is funny enough to make parents chuckle, as well as kids.


The Bumblebear

by Nadia Shireen

Jonathan Cape

Norman the bear loves honey, so he thinks up an ingenious plan to get his paws on as much as he can eat – by enrolling at Bee School! An endearing tale about friendship and loyalty.


I am Bear

by Ben Bailey Smith and Sav Akyüz

Walker Books

Meet Bear: the rebel hero of the forest. This charming and anarchic picture book celebrates a mischievious and loveable character.


Can I Eat That?

by Joshua David Stein and Julia Rothman

Phaidon Press

A quirky combination of fact and fun, this distinctive picture book about food poses questions that inquisitive children typically ask, such as: ‘If I eat jelly and I eat fish, can I eat jellyfish?’ Stylish, witty and informative.


Hoot Owl: master of disguise

by Sean Taylor and Jean Jullien

Walker Books

Hoot Owl wears a selection of ingenious disguises when hunting for food, but his prey always manages to escape. Vibrant illustrations and repetitive text combine to create a comical tale of perseverance. Very silly and the illustrations are great!



by Britta Teckentrup

Little Tiger

This bee-autiful and special book takes children on a poetic journey through the bee’s day.


Nibbles: The Book Monster

by Emma Yarlett

Little Tiger Press

This is a story about a little monster called… Nibbles. And with that, he nibbles his way right out of the book! This really exciting reading experience is sure to be a hit with the whole family.