View Full Version : UPDATED with reviews: If your Child Likes These Books . . . What Other Books?

04-21-2011, 01:32 PM
Ok, this if your child likes X approach was WILDLY effective. I am only a quarter of the way through my amazon box shipment (I ordered a wide cross-section of the suggestions). So, far all books I have read have been run-away hits. Everyone was right-on with monsters and fairytales and vehicles. So far:
1. Spooky Old Tree, Bernstain bears: not complex or long, quite simple but this is DS's absolute favorite. It is an absolutely lovely children's book with such sweet illustrations. It is scary and suspenseful but then at the end there is a mama bear hugging her cubs tight. And it rhymes. Only warning is that it may be too scary for children less macabre than my own.
2. Wacky Wednesday: This one was a fun challenge for DS -- he could only find about 1/3 of the wacky things on his own and then we had to give hints for the others. But, he really likes it. You all are right, it is irritating for the parents. But, watching DS crack up hysterically over each wacky thing was worth it.
3. The Monster at the End of this Book (Grover): Another smash hit - - along with spooky old tree DS has asked to read this one every day for a week. Cute, lovable, and silly and kind of empowering to the DC.
4. Swimmy: I have an issue with any book that starts with a school of fish being eaten (I have now changed it to the giant tuna teases the school of fish). But, DS really likes this one too and has added it into the line-up most nights.
5. Goldilocks and the three Bears (I think author was Mitchell?): this is an awesome, updated version without a grisly ending. I was surprised at how much DS loves this. He has requested we read it five times since we got it from the book box last night! I love this one too.
Anyway, sorry I haven't gotten to all of the books to review but I wanted to let you know that based on this sample I think this thread compiles a very incredible list of books for 3-4 year olds. Some are more simple stories but absolutely charming; some I can tell are going to be a bit of a reach for DS's level but he likes that (e.g., monster in the backpack and the one about the eggs). Thanks again.

DS is three and right now his favorite books are the Lorax and the Places You'll Go (but less so the foot book and Mr. Brown), the Lyle the Crocodile Books, the Arthur books, the Frances Badger books, and longer books involving trains, thomas, fire engines (e.g., Old Jeff from the little golden books), and monsters.

He still enjoys them from time to time but he seems to have moved away from his board books and even the Pigeon drives the Bus, Knuffle Bunny, If you give a mouse a cookie etc. that he was so into during his twos. It now has to be a more complex story. I think this is because he has worked out the longer the book the more time with the parents and often the later the bedtime. :)

Anyway, what books would you rec based on DS's present reading interests?

04-21-2011, 01:39 PM
For longer story books, we liked Virginia Lee Burton quite a bit. (Mike Mulligan, the Little House, and others).
We also like Bill Peet (Big Bad Bruce, The Caboose who Got Loose, and others. Some of his are a little scary for my girls, and you might want to preview).

I will think of others...

04-21-2011, 01:44 PM
Oh no, scary is good. DS is very hard to scare and loves scary stuff. We explained to him early on most of it is not real and just for fun and gave him all these options for if he meets a monster (tell it to be friendly, give him a hug) and DS has, uh, really run with that. We were with our friends the other day and DS was babbling about phantoms, creepers, ghosts, etc. while our friends' preschooler looked on in horror and DH remarked, "DS is training for future work in the occult."

ETA: He does like Mike Mulligan alot - - we have the board book and the audio tape set to classical music by the london philharmonic, which I really enjoy. I am going to check out Bill Peet though.

04-21-2011, 01:46 PM
There's a Monster in my Backpack is a cute book and is part of the 4 for 3 promotion on Amazon. Ladybug Girl is super cute.

04-21-2011, 01:49 PM
I always like reading your posts because our sons seem to be at the same point in math and reading. DS is also three and very much into more complex stories at this point too. And yes, I think it's partly b/c he knows that longer story = more time until bedtime. He likes most of the stories in the Big Red, Big Green and Big Blue/Dr. Seuss books. He usually asks for The Lorax, Bartholomew Cubbins or Horton Hatches the Egg.
His favorite story for the past two weeks has been Wacky Wednesday. This drives DH and I nuts but DS loves finding all the "wacky" things in the pictures and counting them. He also likes a lot of the Richard Scary stuff -- I don't think he enjoys the stories so much but he loves studying the pictures.

Other hits: More complex tellings of fairy tales and the Mama Llama books (which aren't as complex but don't seem to have worn off yet).

04-21-2011, 01:56 PM
Laura Numeroff has a monster book: http://www.amazon.com/Laura-Numeroffs-10-Step-Living-Monster/dp/0066238226/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1303408396&sr=1-1

If he likes scary books: http://www.amazon.com/Dark-Wood-Old-Tale-Twist/dp/0613958586/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1303408496&sr=1-1

04-21-2011, 01:56 PM
What about Skippyjon Jones by Judy Schachner? I think there are 5 in the series so far about this Siamese Cat who thinks he is is a Chihuahua. Super super funny.

Here are a few more we love: Chicka Chicka Boom Boom, The Berenstain Bears, all of Leo Lionni, the llama llama series by Anna Dewdney, all of Mercer Mayer books, Clifford the Big Red Dog series, books by James Marshall (he retells fairy tales but sometimes puts a spin on them and also did the Miss Nelson series), books by Don and Audrey Wood (The Napping House; The Little Mouse, The Red Ripe Strawberry and the Big Hungry Bear) and of course anything by Mo Willems especially Piggie and Gerald.

Best to order books through Scholastic through a teacher as they are SO inexpensive. I do it online so my sister gets the credit and then I am not limited to the flier that she sent to her 1st graders that may not be age appropriate for my toddler.

04-21-2011, 02:21 PM
If he likes Authur, what about Franklin or the Berenstein Bears? If he likes rhyming, what about poetry? Not as long, but we used to let ds pick two poems for one book. . . .


04-21-2011, 02:22 PM
Oh, also what about Winnie the Pooh? Or Beatrix Potter?


04-21-2011, 02:31 PM
OK, adding monster books left and right to my amazon cart! I also remembered "the monster at the end of this book" with grover which I LOVED as a child and threw that in the cart.

For skippyjon, we have and DS really likes the original book . . . is there another one in the series that you particularly rec?

I think he is kind of "been there done that" with Audrey Wood. *I* miss Silly Sally though . . . thank goodness I have DD moving up into these books or I would be upset!

He does enjoy the berenstein bears (we have moving day I think) and I am going to buy a few more paperbacks. He likes winnie the pooh alot (we have a few of those) but I haven't tried beatrix potter yet.

He also likes aladdin so I am going to check out the fairy tale author rec'd upthread.

Thank you everyone!

04-21-2011, 02:39 PM
If he likes fairy tale stories (and he seems to similar taste to my DS!) than I recommend Robert San Souci. He's written a ton of books on familiar themes but I like his take a lot and he generally pairs with exceptional illustrators. I also truly love Leo Leonni, some of Jannell Cannon, and Graeme Base.

Keep in mind, these are mostly favorites of my DS1 (and me!) but I think they "fit" with the books that your DS seems to enjoy!

04-21-2011, 02:51 PM
Kevin Henkes books are good. Crysanthemum, Weekend with Wendal, etc.

04-21-2011, 03:04 PM
We're big fans of Bill Peet, Kevin Henkes, and Leo Lionni too. Don Freeman has also written a lot of other books besides Corduroy. What about Make Way for Ducklings and his other books?

Some other books with longer storylines.
Anatole books - Eve Titus
The Happy Lion - Louise Fatio (and several others)
Petunia - Roger Duvoisin (and others)

I'll add more as I think of others

04-21-2011, 03:17 PM
we really like kevin henkes too-- recently got "my garden" which is not terribly long but has great extension possibilities-- imagining what a garden COULD be like if a child was in charge, talking about what can "grow" vs "not grow" (or other qualities about what makes something "living"). we LOVE chysanthemum and julius, the baby of the world (HYSTERICAL) and owen (my kid relates to this story even though she doesn't have a security lovey....it's just really cute). i got the new rabbit book for easter, but we haven't read it yet :)

we're reading lots of random easter books (the bunny who found easter, the country rabbit and the little gold shoes, the golden easter egg book, etc) and WAY TOO MUCH disney. some of the disney drives me crazy, but some of it's okay. the princess stories...well, lets just say, those big books go away sometimes. thankfully my 3 year old (same age as your son) is a novelty seeker, so she's on to the next lately :) the stories that are more close to the classic movies can be enjoyable and fairly well written.

have you read any charlotte zolotow? we love her. we are also big elephant and piggy fans (more dh & i than lucy though)... still loving eric carle, but the longer ones (current favorites-- papa, please get the moon for me & pancakes, pancakes)

my child is another that can't be scared AT ALL. she currently is OBSESSED with her gee-gee (my mom) making a potion to turn her into a mermaid. she has started telling all her friends that they are going to be mermaids too-- personally? i think she is scaring the poop out of them ;) we've tried to "scare" her out of this mermaid idea, but she is NOT persuaded. *Sigh* wolves, sea witches, evil stepmothers, troublesome cats, ghosts, monsters, skeletons-- bring it on!

04-21-2011, 03:19 PM
i wanted to mention our all time favorite don freeman-- "a rainbow of my own" my child LOVED this book so much...and i just think it's perfect for this time of year, a great start to talking about rainbows and colors and it's just really winsome and sweet. we would read this over and over and over for a while (probably when lucy just turned two)--since lu wasn't into reading things over and over, this had to be a really special book to make her want us to do that.

04-21-2011, 03:27 PM
My DD likes/liked these books as well. Sounds like he likes the classics! She LOVES the Beatrix Potter books - "Squirrel Nutkin," "Benjamin Bunny," "Mrs Tiggy Winkle" etc - we have the small blue books in the original format. At that age she also really liked Maurice Sendak - the Pocket Nutshell library, In the Night Kitchen and of course Wild Things. PD Eastman - "Sam and the Firefly," "Big Dog, Little Dig" are marvelous books. Another favorite were the Don Freeman books - "Corduroy," "Fly High, Fly Low," etc. And AA Milne - the full text House at Pooh Corner, When We Were Very Young etc are still big hits around here. He might also be ready for some of these books on CD - we have the Frances Audio Collection, Seuss Audio Collection (with phenomenal readers) and Pooh (with Stephen Fry and Judi Dench).

04-21-2011, 03:32 PM
Also check out Purple House Press and The New York Review Children's Collection. Both reprint classic children's books.


We've loved most everything we've read from them.

04-21-2011, 03:33 PM
Does he/would he enjoy books with a "cumulative story"...I hope I'm using the correct terminology, but at that age my DD enjoyed predicting and repeating back the new addition. For example:


This is Halloween-themed but DD was positively obsessed with this book and still enjoys it: (and she always wanted to read it year-round)

There are obviously titles with varying degrees of complexity/themes that have a similar format (adding the new event to the previous happenings and then repeating the whole thing back...)

DS1 and DD liked many of the books PPs mentioned. Some others off the top of my head:
Ella the Elephant series
Sylvester and the Magic Pebble (MIL just gave this to Ds1 and DD)
Strega Nona
Karma Wilson's Bear series

04-21-2011, 04:13 PM
I just saw that your DS likes Berenstain bears and since he likes scary books, this one is cute: http://www.amazon.com/Berenstain-Bears-Spooky-Bright-Early/dp/0394839102/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1303416671&sr=1-1

04-21-2011, 04:19 PM
We've got a couple of the Skippyjon Jones books. DS is really into http://www.amazon.com/Skippyjon-Jones-Bones-Judy-Schachner/dp/0525478841/ref=sr_1_5?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1303416889&sr=1-5

He's also a big Dr. Seuss fan, including Wacky Wednesday, which was originally published under Seuss's pseudonym. He likes to point out the things that are "wacky" in the book. http://www.amazon.com/Wacky-Wednesday-Beginner-Books-R/dp/0394829123/ref=wl_it_dp_v?ie=UTF8&coliid=I3CGCRB9KTH3UC&colid=95C4QUOM2TB0

DS also really likes garbage trucks, so this is a favorite http://www.amazon.com/I-Stink-Kate-Mcmullan/dp/0064438368/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1303417065&sr=1-1

This one has more narrative than a typical kids book, but DS it totally fascinated with it: http://www.amazon.com/Talking-Eggs-Robert-San-Souci/dp/0803706197/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1303417082&sr=1-1

04-21-2011, 04:30 PM
The Sneetches and Other Stories is a less known Dr. Seuss work that my 2 year old son, who LOVES the Lorax (and run around asking for calling out Reeeead 'L'ax ax ax!) will ask for a lot.

04-21-2011, 04:52 PM
This is fascinating - - you all have hit exactly upon DS's book interests/current level. I have now placed a monster amazon order and am working on updating my amazon wish list with the others (at times like this I miss sortfloor books but I was able to benefit from some amazon promotions :)).

Mommylamb, my DS is obssessed with I Stink - - we have the scholastic video which is really excellent and jazzy. DS rides around the house on his plasma car singing, "Hey, Hey, Get Outta My WAY!"

Thank you so much. This is really astounding.

04-21-2011, 05:08 PM
DS1 is 4 and currently loves all of the Cat in the Hat Learning Library books. Over the course of the year, some books he has really liked are the Magic School Bus books, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Little House in the Big Woods and we are currently reading Greek Myths for Young Children (may want to preview the last 4 books before reading). We have loved reading many of the books pps mentioned, especially the ones brittone2 suggested.

04-21-2011, 05:12 PM
This is fascinating - - you all have hit exactly upon DS's book interests/current level. I have now placed a monster amazon order and am working on updating my amazon wish list with the others (at times like this I miss sortfloor books but I was able to benefit from some amazon promotions :)).

Mommylamb, my DS is obssessed with I Stink - - we have the scholastic video which is really excellent and jazzy. DS rides around the house on his plasma car singing, "Hey, Hey, Get Outta My WAY!"

Thank you so much. This is really astounding.

What did you get? :wink2:

Word of advice: library. Use it - I only go to amazon.com to get stuff that are known winners.

Another author recommendation: Robert McCloskey, Make Way for Ducklings and Blueberries for Sal.

04-21-2011, 05:34 PM
The kids both *love* The Lorax. We also like the Dr. Seuss "all about" series (all about space, etc.). The Giant Jam Sandwich, Edwina (Mo Willems, a little more involved than Knufflebunny). I'll come back if I think of more...

ETA: DS also likes books pp mentioned--I stink and Wacky Wednesday. Crash, bash, there goes the trash is also good. Kevin Henkes was also mentioned--Kitten's first full moon is a good one.
I know it's a weird stage when they're out of board books, want something more involved, but not a chapter book.
We also use the library. If the kids really take to a certain book, then we'll buy it.

05-03-2011, 02:33 PM
updated with reviews!