The Wolves in the Walls

Written by: Neil Gaiman

Illustrated by: Dave McKean

Before Reading

Explore Illustrations

"For you know what they say...If the wolves come out of the walls, then it's all over." -Lucy's mother

Lucy is convinced that there are wolves in the walls but no one will believe her! Before you find out if what Lucy thinks is right, start off by talking to your child about the cover, as well as any predictions or observations that s/he may have. Ask questions like:

Make Observations

What do you notice about the eyes in the picture?

Make Predictions

Why do you think there are wolves in the walls?

What do you think she is drawing on?

{Flip to an illustration} What do you think is happening in this picture?

What do you think this story will be about?


Activate Prior Knowledge

Ask your child what other stories s/he has read that have wolves in them (ex. Little Red Riding Hood). Talk about the characters in these stories and what they were like and ask, "Do you think the wolves in this story will be similar to the ones in _________? Why do you think that?"

As You Read

There are so many vivid and descriptive words used in this story to express the sounds that Lucy is hearing in the walls. These words include SCRAMBLING, RAMBLING, and RUSTLING. Ask your child, "Do you think there are actually wolves in the walls? What could the wolves be doing in there?" Open up your child's mind to the world inside the walls and allow him/her to imagine what could be going on in there. 

Make Connections

Lucy's family doesn't believe her when she says that there are wolves in the walls. Ask your child about a time when s/he has believed something that others did not. Ask, "Has there ever been a time when you believed something but no one else did? What happened? What do you think will happen next in the story?"

After Reading

Summarize and Interpret

Discuss the story once you are through using questions like:

What was your favorite part of the story?

Why do you think the wolves were scared of Lucy and her family?

What would you do if there were wolves in your walls?

Why didn't her family believe her?

How did Lucy deal with the wolves?

Do you think there are elephants in her walls too? Why or why not?

Activity: Simon Says: "Wolves In The Walls" Style

Turn all of the great descriptive verbs in this story into a Simon Says game! Start of by going through the list of words below and coming up with appropriate actions for each one. Read through them a few times so that your child understands what each one means. For example, for the word "nibble", try nibbling a pretend piece of cheese like a mouse. Once you've gone through all of the words, begin your game by saying, "Simon says...Sing!" Start off slow and then speed up your instructions as your child becomes more comfortable with the game. Feel free to add or swap in words as you see fit.

  • sneak
  • crumple
  • nibble
  • thump
  • snore
  • slide
  • dash
  • sing
  • dance
  • jump

STEM Extensions

Where do wolves really live? Learn about the four different types of wolves and where they live with Animals. You can also print out images of each type of wolf and make a chart that includes the following information: what country they live in, what their natural habitats are, how many wolves are usually in a pack and what they eat.