Author Richa Jha Suggests Must Read Books For Your Preschooler That Aren’t Classics

What an amazing age to introduce new books to your child! By the age of four your child will learn to associate sounds with letters and may even be able to recognize a few basic words. By now you might have spent hours reading books together and progressed from board or picture books to books with real stories of people your child identifies with in daily life.

Below are my family's favourites. I have left out notable classics because they appear on every list. I strongly urge you to try these books and will guarantee they will become family favourites!

The Best Books for 4 Year Olds


1. The Fivetongued Firefanged Folkadotted Dragon Snake (Anushka Ravishankar, Rathna Ramanathan, and Indrapramit Roy; Tara):

Shop Here: Rs. 95
The Fivetongued Firefanged Folkadotted Dragon Snake
This book always gives me a bad bout of author envy! I find this as being one of Anushka’s cleverest and wittiest best.

2. First Day Jitters (by Julie Danneburg and Judy Love; Charlesbridge): 
Shop Here: Rs: 370

First Day Jitters (Mrs. Hartwells classroom adventures)_Picture Books
Funny, with vibrant, and relatable visuals with an incredibly clever ending. It’s Sarah’s first day at school, and she just about manages to trudge along with her apprehensions right until the end of the book. Just that, it’s not a student we are reading about at all!

3. It’s a Book (by Lane Smith; Roaring Brook Press):

Shop Here: Rs: 645

Its a book _ picturebooks _kidsstoppress

A witty, tongue-in-cheek argument for printed books in this increasingly virtual world.

4. Oliver (Birgitta Sif; Walker Books):

Shop Here: Rs 607

Oliver_picture books for preschoolers

When I first read this book about a deeply imaginative, quiet, and creative boy who enjoys solitude and is happy in his own world, I couldn’t decide whether it was as fascinating as the reviews had made it sound to be. But I have no qualms in admitting that it has slowly seeped inside my skin. A dreamily done book about being at ease while being different from the crowd, and in due course, finding someone whom you can connect with instantly.

5. Lost and Found (by Oliver Jeffers; Philomel Books):

Shop Here: Rs 209

Lost and Found_picture books for preschoolers_kidsstoppress

One of the best books on soulful friendship for young kids.

6. Meggie Moon (by Elizabeth Baguley; Little Tiger Press):

Shop Here: Rs 436

meggie moon_picturebooks for preschoolers_kidsstoppress

One of the earliest introductions my kids had to feminism and discarding traditional, society bred gender roles.

7. Love Like That (by Richa Jha and Gautam Benegal; Pickle Yolk Books):

love like that_kidsstoppress_picturebooks

This book is an endearing story of a little joey wondering why his mommy can’t love him the way other mommies love little ones.

8. My Teacher is Not a Monster! (by Peter Brown; Little, Brown Books):

Shop Here: Rs 184

My Teacher is a Monster! (No, I am not)_picturebooks_kidsstoppress

An utterly believable story, because let’s face it, every child has at least one monster teacher at school every year!

9. Hans and Matilda (by Yokococo; Templar):

Shop Here: Rs 776

Matilda and Hans_picturebooks_kidsstoppress

Each of us is shades of naughty and nice – explaining this to kids made easier by this breezy little book.

10. Mr Wolf’s Pancakes (by Jan Fearnley; Egmont Books):

Shop Here: Rs 564

Mr. Wolf's Pancakes_pictureboojs_kidsstoppress

I have this big thing for rib tickling picture books with intelligent foxes and wolves with hearts of gold. Or pancakes. This one is particularly yummy because of the hordes of selfish greedy neighbours Mr Wolf is surrounded with. He outwits them all, of course.

The Best Books for 5 year olds. 

1. The Bear Under the Stairs (by Helen Cooper; Corgi Childrens):

Shop here: RS. 648

The Bear Under The Stairs - picture books - kidsstoppress
A magnificently story illustrated in water colors of nearly every child’s fear of dark spaces and the overactive imagination that dark corners inspire. Why I especially love this book is because it shows the child deciding to be brave in his own way.

2. Leonardo, the Terrible Monster (by Mo Willems; Hyperion Books):

Shop here: RS. 648

Leonardo, the Terrible Monster - picture books - kidsstoppress

One of my all time favourites. The key take-away from this delightful book is that if the world expects you to belong to a certain mould and you find yourself not fitting in at all, fret not. Cast a new mould for yourself and slip into it effortlessly and swing in there snugly.

3. Dirty Joe, the Pirate: A True Story (by Bill Harley and Jack E Davis; Harper Collins): 
Shop here: RS. 945

Dirty Joe, the Pirate A True Story  - picture books - kidsstoppress
The hilarious adventures of a set of sock-loving pirates and another that seeks out underwear on the high seas!

4. Guji Guji (by Chih Yuan Chen; Kane/ Miller Book Publishers): 
Shop here: RS. 749

Guji-Guji - picture books - kidsstoppress
An enchanting book on family, adoption, love and acceptance. Part quirky, part reflective, part believable, this warm gently-narrated story of a crocodile being adopted by a family of ducks is a winner all the way.

5. Crispin the Pig Who Had it All (by Ted Dewan; Doubleday Books): 
Shop here: Rs. 2976

Crispin The Pig Who Had it All - picture books - kidsstoppress
Anyone who has ever played with an empty carton will enjoy this book. Because here, a carton is more than the endless worlds and possibilities that it throws up for Crispin, a super rich spoilt piglet. It is his one and only window to the world of friends. Real friends.

6. Daft Bat (by Jeanne Willis and Tony Ross; Andersen): 
Shop here: RS. 749

Daft Bat - picture books - kidsstoppress
I can’t think of a better book to introduce the concept of different perspectives and to have a healthy respect for differing points of view. Much needed in today’s world with rising intolerance.

7. Mister Jeejeebhoy and the Birds (by Anitha Balachandran; Young Zubaan):

Shop here: RS. 260

Mr. Jeejeebhoy and the Birds - picture books - kidsstoppress

Whenever I think of picture books that raised the bar for Indian books, this one is always right up there. Drenched handsomely in magic-realism, and rendered in bold stunning incredibly detailed illustrations that speak a language of their own, this story of two sisters with supernatural powers remains a favourite with us even after years.

8. Little Mouse’s Big Book of Fears (Emily Gravett; Mac Millan UK):

Shop here: RS. 205

Little Mouse's Big Book of Fears - picture books - kidsstoppress

A book with a mouse-nibbled corner is a winner even before you’ve peeped inside, right? This is an indispensable book for children (and adults) troubled by big fears or small. Despite the sinister look and feel of the book, this one is light and humorous, and makes for an incredibly satisfying read.

9. Winnie the Witch (Valerie Thomas and Korky Paul; Harper Collins):

Shop here: RS. 100

Winnie's Doodle Book (Winnie the Witch) - picture - kidsstoppress

My kids and I LOVE going through the hilarious quirky exploits of Winnie and Wilbur, her black cat, as much as we gawk in admiration at the mind blowingly, detailed illustrations. This is the first book in the series.

10. The Story of Ferdinand (by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson; Viking):

Shop here: RS. 1300

The Story of Ferdinand (by Munro Leaf and Robert Lawson; Viking) - kidsstoppress - picture books

A 1936 classic that doesn’t fail to move and inspire you, in its own sweet, gentle, calm manner, no matter how many times you read it. Be yourself is the mantra, and few other books can come close to talking about it with such ease, brevity and finesse.

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