Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears

by Verna Aardema, Diane Dillon (Illustrator), Leo Dillon (Illustrator)
Publisher: Puffin Books
Trade Paperback, 32 pages
List Price: $7.99 Sale Price: $6.39

Mosquito never would have thought that her small lie to iguana would cause a chain reaction that plunged the world into eternal night. But that's what ends up happening. After king lion calls a court to determine the guilty party, mosquito runs and hides. Now she can forever be found buzzing around people's ears, desperate to acquit herself.

This odd African pourquoi tale won the 1976 Caldecott medal for the Dillons' eccentric illustrations. Leo and Diane Dillon would go on to win the Caldecott the very next year forAshanti to Zulu. The artwork is an eclectic mix of watercolor, paper cuts, pastels, vellum, and India ink. It's big and cartoony, but with an elegance that will hold your attention past the initial glance.

Verna Aardema's story is told as a cumulative tale with onomatapoeic animal sounds thrown into the text for effect. This may throw off some readers-out-loud, as they are not italicized or otherwise marked, but once you get the hang of it it's a neat addition. As for the moral, the justice of punishing mosquito not only for the lie but also for all the consequences resulting from it is dubious. So is the mosquito flying around with an unresolved guilty conscience for the rest of time. Still, kids might get a kick out of imagining pesky mosquitoes buzzing around asking if people are still angry at it. That is, until the kid asks the real question, "but why do mosquitoes suck blood?"

Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.

Review by Lauren Shearer
Lauren Shearer writes words for fun and profit. She also makes films, but everyone knows you can't make a profit doing that. Her other hobby is consistently volunteering way too much of her time. You can read more of her reviews here.
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Exodus Rating:
FLAWS: Violence (baby animal dies), Attitude
Summary: Because mosquito lies to iguana, the world is plunged into eternal night.

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