Classics for Four Year Old Granddaughters


My friend Jill asked me this weekend what reading classics I would recommend for her and her soon-to-be four granddaughter. It was a delightfully difficult question to answer. Here are all of my ideas.

Kid Classics Everyone Seems to Know

Goodnight Moon by Margaret Wise Brown (The language in this is amazing. I read that one of the reasons it works so well and is so soothing involves the use of the vowels created in the back of your throat. Ms. Brown is  a wonder.)

The Cat in the Hat by Dr. Seuss (It is a joy to learn this book as the parent reader. After a time, you can start zipping through the language and the repetition, feeling a little like your tongue is skipping. I especially like the question at the end about asking the mother. “What would you do if your mother asked you?” Quinton always has to ponder this a bit.)

Anything by Eric Carle. (Kieran and I especially liked The Grouchy Ladybug. Quinton loves The Hungry Caterpillar.)

Skippyjon Jones series by Judy Schachner (Although the boys never got hooked on these, I adore this cat and think Jill’s granddaughter might, too.)

My Special Recommendation for Girls

The Paper Bag Princess by Munch with art by Marchenko. (This book is a delightful twist on the rescue a female from the dragon scenario — the heroine does her own brilliant rescuing. I’m pretty sure I enjoyed this more than the boys, but they appreciate my sound effects for the dragon’s actions.)

My Family’s Lesser Known Classics

If You Were My Bunny by Kate McMullan (This one is good if you like to sing. The different animals have new lyrics for old lullabies.)

The Little Critter series by Mercer Meyer (Little Critter is a wonder with his trips to the grandparents, experiences with a messy room and, my husband’s favorite: Just Go to Bed.)

One Day, Two Dragons by Lynne Bertrand (An elegant tale of two dragons off to get shots to protect them against things like scale rot and dragon breath.)

Click Clack Moo by Doreen Cronin (Again, the language rolls off your tongue as you read it. The cows and ducks triumph with words also spices up the plot.)

And, finally, our all time favorite if you only let us have one children’s book forever because you were a cruel overlord or something: 

Four Pups and a Worm by Eric Seltzer (I don’t know many people who have read this one but I adore it. Seltzer has a rhythm that creates an easy flow to the words and an adorable concept. The repeating words helped Kieran learn to read and I see the beginnings of this with Quinton, too.)

“If a pet frog sounds like fun, would 3 cats and a slug lend you one? Never. No. Never. They’re just not that clever. Call four pups and a worm! They lend frogs!”

I’m hoping Jill will check these out from one of my favorite places on the surface of this planet: the library. Then she can chose her favorite or favorites to give her girl. Whatever she does, I’m thrilled she asked me. Tripping through the books in my mind was a blast that beat the trousers off of all that blowing up of explosives I heard last night.