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Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears

by Verna Aardema Illustrated by Diane Dillon, Leo Dillon

In this West African folk tale, retold by Verna Aardema, a mosquito brags to an iguana that he spied a farmer digging yams as big as mosquitoes. The iguana scoffs at such a notion and refuses to listen to any more nonsense. Grumbling, he puts sticks in his ears and scuttles off through the reeds and sets off a chain reaction among myriad animals inhabiting the same landscape.

The iguana offends a friendly python, who shoots down a rabbit hole and terrifies a rabbit. Seeing the rabbit scares a crow overhead, who spreads an alarm that danger is near. When a monkey reacts to the alarm, an owlet is killed, which sets off a wave of grieving in the mother owl so profound that she is unable to wake the sun each day with her hooting.

The nights grow longer, and when the King Lion calls a meeting to get to the bottom of the situation, the chain of events is traced back to the source of all the trouble, the pesky mosquito. Finding the culprit satisfies the mother owl, who calls the sun back again. But, alas, the mosquito is forever plagued with a guilty conscience, compelling him forever to be a pest.

The vibrant neo-primitive illustrations, which earned this title a Caldecott medal in 1976, enhance and embellish the tale. This is a timeless story sure to charm a wide range of readers and listeners.

Ages
6, 7, 5
Interest Level
Grades K - 2
Grade Level Equivalent
4.2
Lexile Measure
770
DRA
30
Guided Reading
N
Publisher
Puffin Books
Book Type
Cumulative Tale
Number of Pages
32
Genre
Fables, Folk Tales and Myths

About the Author and Illustrators

Verna Aardema
Diane Dillon Artist Diane Dillon is renowned for the enormous body of work she has produced with her husband and collaborator, Leo Dillon.
Leo Dillon Among Leo Dillon's many honors, he and his wife have received two Caldecott Medals, for Ashanti to Zulu and Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears, four New York Times Best Illustrated Awards, four Boston Globe/Horn Book Awards, two Coretta Scott King Awards, two Coretta Scott King Honors, and the Society of Illustrators Gold Medal.

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