I love the ages of three and four. Children just blossom into these little people at age three and into four. I almost feel like I’m living with a small adult now that Ella is four-and-a-half, because there is so much change in such a short period of time. This is also the age when kids are ready for some longer books. Here are a few with tame enough themes for very young minds.
Little Bear books are the best for introducing children to chapter books. They are easy to understand and a perfect length because even two-year-olds can enjoy one story and then as they get older they can read more than one and feel like they’re reading a big book. Plus Little Bear is such a good sort of bear, the kind you’d want your kids to be friends with.
Speaking of bears that are friends, The Bear That Heard Crying is a riveting read for young children. It’s not a chapter book, but it’s a longer picture book. It tells about three-year-old Sarah who is lost in the woods and befriended by a big black bear. My kids want to read it over and over. I think they feel some kind of kinship with little, lost Sarah. And Helen Kinsey’s illustrations are perfection. I long for trees surrounding me and leaves and dirt under my feet when I look at this book.
The Fire Cat is a three part story book about a cat named Pickle. I had never heard of it but one day last fall we saw it in a the bookstore and my husband grabbed it up without thinking twice. That doesn’t happen too often. The illustrations are a little too far on the cartoonish side for me to really love, but there’s something about them that’s endearing. Our kids love it. They know that if they ask for “Just one Pickles story” they’ll get two or maybe the whole 64 page book if they’re lucky. Especially if it’s Mommy who is a sucker for (a) sitting still for more than three minutes at a time, and (b) reading.
There are all kinds of longer picture books that kids can get into when they’re young. I’ve found a lot of them have too much tragedy or drama for my children. Luckily, there’s no rush at this point. We just find some topics or characters our kids enjoy and ease them into listening to us read for a little bit longer than they did before. If they’re not ready for that, no sweat. We pull out the building blocks or tricycles and try again next week. =)
This is Day 18 of the 31 Days of Picture Book Series. To see the other posts in the series, go here.