Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears
|Illustrator||Leo and Diane Dillon|
|Genre||Children's picture book|
|LC Class||PZ8.1.A213 Wh|
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale is a picture book told in the form of a cumulative tale written for young children, which tells an African legend. In this origin story, the mosquito lies to a lizard, who puts sticks in his ears and ends up frightening another animal, which down a long line causes a panic. In the end, an owlet is killed and the owl is too sad to wake the sun until the animals hold court and find out who is responsible. The mosquito is eventually found out, but it hides in order to escape punishment. So now it constantly buzzes in people's ears to find out if everyone is still angry at it.
The book won a Caldecott Medal in 1976 for its illustrators, Leo and Diane Dillon. The artwork was made using watercolor airbrush, pastels, and India ink. The cutout shapes were made by using friskets and vellum cut shapes at different angles. It was the first of their two consecutive Caldecott wins; the second was for Ashanti to Zulu: African Traditions.
This story is a resource for teachers to teach the skill; cause and effect.
"A cause is something that makes something else happen; An effect is what happens as a result of the cause" (Dell)
The idea that the mosquito is to blame for the unfortunate death of the owlet is an example of cause and effect. The actions from the other animals also offers several more examples of cause and effect as each animal does something that causes the next animal to do something. This chain of events finally causes the owlet to die. Therefore teachers can use this text to show students how actions (causes) make other things happen (effect).
A mosquito tells a lizard that he saw a farmer digging up yams almost as big as he was. The lizard says he is lying and puts sticks in his ears to avoid hearing anymore nonsense and walks off. He soon passes a python who says hello. He doesn't hear the python because of the sticks in his ears. The python worries the lizard has something against him. Which starts a panic that ends in the death of an owlet and a mother owl too sad to wake the sun. The animals hold a court to find out who started the panic. They find out about the mosquitoes lie and in order to escape being punished he hides and buzzes in people ear to see if everyone is still mad about the panic he started.
Dell, D. "Cause and Effect Mini Lesson." N.p., 09/12/2005. Web. 28 Mar 2011. <http://mrsdell.org/causeandeffect>.
Arrow to the Sun
|Caldecott Medal recipient
Ashanti to Zulu