I would recommend these books for four year olds to eight year olds. All of these books had wonderful illustrations and were easy to read - even for the hundred-and-eleventieth time - but, more importantly, they were easy to remember and are now on our "tell me a story" rotation.
The Shaking Bag by Gwendolyn Battle-Lavert, illustrated by Aminah Brenda Lynn Robinson
A story about a generous old woman who lives with her dog and shares her bread with the birds. Gorgeous illustrations, exciting lyrics that the kids love to shout along with you, and a great ending for a child who believes in magic.
Soap! Soap! Don't Forget the Soap!: An Appalachian Folktale by Tom Birdseye and Andrew Glass
Poor Plug Honeycut. This hilarious book - with illustrations to match - tell the story of a forgetful, but well-meaning boy who is on an errand from his mother. As he heads to town, his poor memory gets him into ever-increasing trouble as he tries to remember his mother's admonition. After being asked to tell it so many times, even my two year old knows the refrain and yells "SOAP, SOAP!!!" when I tell this story. Definite keeper.
The Long Haired Girl: A Chinese Legend by Doreen Rappaport
A good story if you're looking for strong female characters with no romance involved.
Ah-Mei lives near the Lei-Gong Mountains in China. A drought comes and everyone is suffering terribly. Ah-Mei finds a secret spring of water in the mountains, but is told by Lei-Gong, the God of Thunder, that he will kill her if she shares knowledge of this life-saving spring with anyone. Ah-Mei has to choose between her life or the lives of all those who suffer around her.
The illustrations in this book are stunning, especially to princess-loving girls.
These are all books that I would like to add to our private library. They're well worth it.