Author: Alyssa Satin Capucilli

4-Year-Olds Storybooks

In this recommended children's book, a little girl takes Biscuit, the little yellow puppy, to the veterinarian for a checkup. It's a perfect read-along story for four-year-olds.

Before, During and After Reading

Letter Knowledge

Introduce the book. Read the title of the book, sweeping your finger under the words as you read them. Tell your child, Alyssa Satin Capucilli is the author of this story. An author writes the words of the story.

Identify the letter. Ask your child, What’s the first letter of Biscuit’s name? Ask your child to touch the letter B.  

Oral Language

Make predictions. Ask questions. Look at the illustrations on the front and back covers. Ask your child to predict what this story is going to be about and what the doctor and Biscuit might do in the story. Ask your child what the veterinarian is doing with Biscuit on the front cover’s illustration. Ask, Do you know the special name for an animal doctor? If she is unsure, say, An animal doctor is also called a veterinarian. Encourage your child to repeat the word "veterinarian with" you.  


Letter Knowledge

Glide your finger under the words as you read them. This helps your child have a better understanding of how print works.

Oral Language

Ask questions. On pages in which the girl speaks to Biscuit, ask your child what she thinks Biscuit’s response is.  You might ask, What do you think Biscuit said? (Hint: Biscuit always says “Woof, woof!”)  Give your child time to look closely at the illustrations in this book. Ask questions and talk about the illustrations. You might ask about the other animals, how Biscuit and the girl are feeling, Biscuit’s puppy behaviors, or other characters in the story.  

Relate to personal experiences. Talk about personal experiences or other storybooks that connect to the theme of caring for a pet. If you have ever taken your pet to a veterinarian, ask your child to talk about how the pet must have felt.


Oral Language

Ask questions and discuss. Ask your child, What was your favorite part of the story? For extra support, give the book to your child, so she can flip through the pages and find the favorite part. Ask your child to tell you about that part of the story. Listen closely, respond positively and provide your own comment about that part of the story. For example, if your child chooses the page in which Dr. Green listens to Biscuit’s heartbeat, you might say, Yes, I like that part too! And the little girl has to tell Biscuit to be quiet so Dr. Green can hear his heart go ba-bump, ba-bump, ba-bump through the stethoscope.

Encourage your child to reenact the story with you. Use a stuffed animal to be your “Biscuit” (or, if you have a dog that is willing to play along, he or she can play the role of Biscuit!). You and your child can take turns playing the roles of the little girl and Dr. Green. You may want to reread the story before doing the role play. You might also use other stuffed animals for the bunny, gerbil, parrot, cat and the three little kittens. If you don’t have the real doctor tools, use things around your house as a makeshift scale, measuring tape, stethoscope, otoscope (the device Dr. Green uses to check Biscuit’s ears), needle (use a turkey baster or a clothes pen) and doggy biscuit.  

Beginning Writing

Provide drawing and writing opportunities. After you’ve talked with your child about her favorite part, provide paper and crayons or markers to use to illustrate that part of the story. If your child draws a picture of the puppy, encourage her to write a B for Biscuit, or a P for puppy. Acknowledge all attempts at writing or drawing.

Phonological Awareness

Play listening games with words. Tell your child that you are going to name some animals, but you’re going to say the words in a funny way.  She has to figure out what you’re really trying to say. You might say:

Listen: b.. {pause}… unny. What’s my word? That’s right! Bunny.

Listen: p …{pause}…arrot. What’s my word? That’s right! Parrot.

Listen: c…{pause}…at. What’s my word? That’s right! Cat.

Listen: k…{pause}…ittens. What’s my word? That’s right! Kittens.    


Take a moment to complete the Reading BrightStart! Preschool Reading Screener. The screener can help you determine where your child is on the path to reading readiness, and comes with a free plan for moving forward. 

Or, explore more recommended children's books for four-year-olds