Eat or Be Eaten: A Disturbing Storytime for the Older Child

I’m reading aloud to a group of fifth graders soon, and I knew I wanted to start off with one of my sure fire hits, Gobble Gobble Slip Slop by Meilo So. I’ve read this book with all ages and the repetition, gross out factor, and beautiful illustrations win everyone over. The fat, greedy cat who gets his painful comeuppance really strikes a chord with kids, and the the cries of “OH NO! He can’t eat THAT!” as the cat’s snacks get progressively larger are a sure sign that kids are having a great time, even as they squirm in horror.

Then I started thinking...I Want My Hat Back by Jon Klassen has the same appeal. Quirky, funny, and with a disturbing “Did he or didn’t he?” ending to it.

Which led me to my third and final book to read aloud, Beware of the Frog by William Bee. This tale involves a frog, an adorable old lady, some hilariously creepy fantasy creatures with catchphrases like “Nickerty noo”, and a surprise ending that is guaranteed to delight and disturb in equal measure.

Since this is a read aloud for older kids, in between the books I’ll have some conversation about what we just read. At the end, I’ll encourage to write their own tales, involving questionable dietary choices, ambiguous endings, and the like.

Are there any titles you’d add? And what do you read aloud to kids in 5th grade?

4 responses to “Eat or Be Eaten: A Disturbing Storytime for the Older Child”

  1. I like Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude by Kevin O’Malley


  2. Egg Drop by Mini Grey and Ugly Fish by Kara Lareau both display a quirky and mordant humor!


  3. Vicki Kouchnerkavich Avatar
    Vicki Kouchnerkavich

    Tadpole’s Promise by Jennie Willis is another great book for this interesting category


  4. My son LOVED Beware of the Frog back when he was just a toddler! He would sit on the couch and “read” it to himself. He especially liked the page that said “hey presto!” Once, when I asked him what happened to Miss Collywobbles, he said “Uh oh, she not have her hat on!” Which I thought was funny, since she had clearly turned into a frog and he was worried about her hat! We also love Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude!


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