Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2017-08-13 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 85 user ratings

"Although I truly enjoyed the first half of this book, and the ending (separating it from the rest of the story) and the beautiful illustrations, I couldn't help the frustration with the other half of the book. I understand mosquitoes are annoying but I don't find this a wise way to teach a child that one person alone can have a huge impact on many. Why blame the mosquito for something that was an accident? Sure, he started things off but he wasn't lying to begin with (my son pointed to the man with the yam the mosquito spoke about to the iguana and said 'see, he said the truth'). When I finished reading this story to my son, he expressed anger and said they were lying and it wasn't the mosquitoes fault, nor was it the iguanas fault, the snakes fault, and so on, that the poor little owlet died.

I'm glad I did read the book because after reading it it allowed me to see that my oldest does think outside the box and didn't just agree that it was the mosquitoes fault. I was going to remain silent until the end but he beat me to it every time a different animal was blamed.

Would I recommend? No. I don't care if it won awards or if it is an African tale. The story line sucks.
" said.

"Verna Aardema's story is an African tale that has a lesson hidden in its context for all young readers. It is the story of the pesky little insect we all know as the mosquito, and how one mosquito caused so much mischief among a large group of animals. Aardema tells a story about a mosquito who told a little white lie to an iguana and the iguana couldn't bare to hear the mosquitoes nonsense anymore so he stuck sticks in his ears. With the sticks in his ears he could not hear the snake telling him good morning so the snake assumed he had done something wrong and the iguana was plotting something against him, the snake ran to hide startling a rabbit, crow, and a monkey who then fell onto an owl's nest harming a baby owl. The story uses a repetitive tactic adding more and more pieces to the story until the final answer is found. This tactic is a great tool to help keep children's attention and help them remember along with wonder what is going on and what will happen next. This books lesson in the end of the story is a great one to use to teach children telling lies is not okay and can be very harmful whether they intend it to be or not." said.

"“Why Do Mosquitoes Buzz In Peoples Ears” was about a mosquito that said to an iguana a big lie told an iguana a big lie, so the iguana put one stick in each ear so that he wouldn’t hear for not hearing anymore lies. The python saw the iguana and said, “Good Morning!” But the iguana wasn’t listening because of the sticks in his ears. So the python thought the iguana was planning a mischief against him, so he started following the iguana. The python entered a rabbit hole when he got in the rabbit hole the rabbit saw the python and started running through the forest then a crow saw what was happening, so he started screaming, “Kaa kaa kaaa!” The monkey heard it and was alarmed, and so he started climbing, but one limb broke and he felled on top of an owlet. Monkey had accidentally killed the owlet! Mother Owl, the mother of the owlet, was out hunting for food. When she got home she started crying, and because of that, she didn’t wake up the sun(This was the problem in the folktale). In the end, they blamed mosquito, they blame him for making all this problem start.

“Why Do Mosquitoes Buzz In Peoples Ears” is a folktale because: First it has no author. It is based on African belief(for example there is an lion, lions live in Africa). Third it has supernatural powers, as evidenced by the fact first that Mother Owl could wake the sun and that the animals could talk (Page 2 and all the text). Fourth it explains why mosquitoes buzz in our ears because they wonder if everybody hates them (Page 2.)
" said.

""Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears" is an African Tale that seeks to explain why mosquitos make the sound they do. The tale begins with a mosquito telling an iguana about a farmer digging yams as big as he was. The iguana thought the story was so ridiculous that he refused to listen any longer and placed sticks in his ears. What happened next was a chain of repercussions that led to the death of an owlet and the sun no longer rising.

"So, it was the mosquito who annoyed the iguana, who frightened the python, who scared the rabbit, who startled the crow, who alarmed the monkey, who killed the owlet - and now Mother Owl won't wake the sun so that the day can come." The mosquito never does come forward, and so the tale goes, that when a mosquito buzzes in your ear, it's actually trying to find out if everyone is still angry with him for what happened.

At first glance, the colorful imagery draws the reader into the story. Simple, yet intricate designs appear throughout the illustrations, giving character and life to nonliving things. The sun appears in almost every landscape with the figure of a face looking down on the animals as the story continues to progress.

Immediately after reading this tale, I started thinking about the importance of perception and this idea that perception is reality. When iguana ignored the python, python immediately jumped to the conclusion that iguana was out to get him. The trail of consequences that ensued were easily preventable had python never made such an assumption. The tale also touches on the effects of gossiping. The animals tend to jump to conclusions and run with their assumptions, adding on to the stories they've heard and embellishing them as they continue throughout the story. By the end, King Lion is trying to sort out the entire ordeal until he finally gets to the source.
" said.

"Diane and Leo Dillon were awarded the Caldecott Medal for their woodcut illustrations of this African folk tale.

When the mosquito tells the iguana what he saw, the iguana gets annoyed. Not wanting to listen to such nonsense, he plugs his ears. As a result, he doesn’t hear the python’s greeting, and the snake believes iguana is angry with him and plotting some sort of revenge. So, python looks for a hole to hide in, which frightens the rabbit …. Etc It’s a fun, repetitive story that children will enjoy listening to, and which explores the unintended consequences of our actions.
" said.

"Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears is a Caldecott Award winning picture book written by Verna Aardema and illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. I selected the book from the ALSC website. In this pourquoi tale, the author retells an African story of how the mosquito developed its habit of buzzing. According to the tale, which is written in a cumulative format, the mosquito spotted the iguana drinking at a waterhole and announced, “I saw a farmer digging yams that were almost as big as I am.” The iguana, annoyed by the mosquito’s nonsense, put sticks in its ears and moved away from the insect. With its ears plugged, the iguana could not hear the snake’s greeting and continued mindlessly on its path. The snake, convinced that the iguana must be angry and scheming against it, looked for a place to hide and slithered into a rabbit hole. The rabbit, terrified at the snake’s sight, jumped out of its burrow and raced through the forest. The crow noticed the frightened rabbit and, thinking that there must be some danger, cawed to alarm the forest creatures. When the money heard the crow’s warning, it leaped through the treetops to caution the other animals accidently killing an owlet. The Mother Owl, overwhelmed with mourning, neglected her duties of waking the sun. Once the animals, with King Lion in charge, finally deciphered the sequence of events, they blamed the mosquito for the tragedy. And then, the readers learn why mosquitoes buzz in people’s ears…

The artwork in this picture book is magnificent. The vibrant illustrations capture the reader’s attention and delightfully portray the simple yet engaging and suspenseful plot. The vivid watercolors uniquely outline the animal characters and illuminate the tale bringing it to life. In addition to its appealing artwork, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears teaches a universal moral. Besides the message that misunderstandings can have major consequences, I think that the underlying theme in this tale is that our actions affect others and that we should take responsibility for our actions. Therefore, I think that this picture book can be implemented to teach cause and effect relationships. In particular, the animals in the story blame each other for the unfortunate events, while the mosquito hides in order to escape punishment. Furthermore, the author enriches the story through the imitative repetition of animal sounds, which are great examples for teaching onomatopoeia. The tale can also be valuable for discussing the characteristics of African folktales. Additionally, reading Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears can help students make connections to their cultural heritage. I would implement this book in grades K-3.

" said.

" How a lie has a dreadful consequence! " said.

" A great educational book for your children over the preschool age. My 5 yr old loved it. Lots of good information with beautiful pictures that will help keep children engaged. Aardema is wonderful for an addition to a geography or history lesson. And this one is a Caldecott award winner so it's worth the read for the illustrations alone. A great addition to any children's library. " said.

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