Picture Book: Wolf! by Becky Bloom (Orchard Books 1999)
This is a fun book to use when talking about making predictions. The story is about a wolf who wanders onto a farm looking for food and tries to get what he wants through intimidation. The educated animals who live on the farm are unimpressed by the wolf’s howling, so they ignore him. What happens next is not quite what your students might expect (or predict). If you want to dive a little deeper, you could also use the story to talk about making assumptions/having prejudices about certain groups. It is often assumed that a wolf will be the villain of any story he is in, but that is not the case here and it will be fun for students to discuss their thoughts about the wolf’s personality.
Novel: Among the Dolls by William Sleator (E.P. Dutton 1975)
Creepy, creepy! Although written 35+ years ago, this book contains very few cultural references, so it won’t feel out-of-date to today’s students. This is quite a short novel (only 70 pages), but it tells a compelling story. Vicky wants a bicycle for her birthday, but gets an antique dollhouse instead. She is apathetic at first, but soon begins to play with the toy. Unfortunately, she gives the dolls unpleasant personalities which later come back to haunt her when she herself is transported inside the dollhouse. Pass this title on to all of your fourth and fifth grade horror fans and wait to be thanked!