Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West…

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale (original 1975; edition 2004)

by Verna Aardema (Author), Leo Dillon (Illustrator), Diane Dillon (Illustrator)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,1072251,820 (4.12)14
Title:Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale
Authors:Verna Aardema (Author)
Other authors:Leo Dillon (Illustrator), Diane Dillon (Illustrator)
Info:Puffin/Dial (1992), 32 pages
Collections:Traditional Literature, K-2nd Grade Readers
Tags:West Africa, folk tale, animals, mosquito, lying

Work details

Why Mosquitos Buzz in People's Ears by Verna Aardema (1975)


Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

No current Talk conversations about this book.

» See also 14 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 223 (next | show all)
Based on a West African tale, children will easily recognized the ramifications of telling a fib. Beautiful, stencil-like illustrations will capture the readers attention and gives clues to the action written on the page. I think kids will particularly enjoy the use of onomatopoeia in the descriptions regarding the animals movements, such as "...her back way and bounded, krik, krik, krik..." or "...bobbing his head, badamin, badamin." ( )
  Rebbecca | Mar 12, 2018 |
A beautiful picture book for children to learn a unique story. This book represents an African legend as it is passed down through animals telling stories and how mixed up stories can get! This would be great to teach children on how stories and rumors can be spread and how fast things can change the story. This could be fun to play a game of telephone after they read this book for a group/circle time.
  Saradub | Mar 12, 2018 |
This book explains why mosquitos buzz in people's ear. It starts with mosquito talking to Iguana who then puts sticks in his ears. As iguana encounters other animals, each misinterpret his reason for ignoring them. In the end Lion has to sort out why everyone is so worked up. ( )
  katie.greenfield | Nov 28, 2017 |
In this West African folktale, retold by Verna Aardema, a mosquito brags to an iguana that he spied a farmer digging yams as big as mosquitoes. The iguana refuses to listen to the mosquito and puts sticks in his ears and continues on through the forest. The iguana offends a friendly python by not hearing him when says “Good Morning,” so he 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, the mosquito is forever plagued with a guilty conscience, compelling him forever to be a pest. The story ends with the mosquito buzzing in a human's ear to ask why everyone is still angry with him, which causes the human to smack and kill the mosquito. This traditional folktale attempts to show the origin to mosquitos buzzing in people’s ears and being a pest. ( )
  AlexandraCoady | Oct 25, 2017 |
I thoroughly enjoyed Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears by: Verna Aardema. I liked this book firstly because on each page it repeats the same few things over again. It begins with, “It was the monkey who killed the owlet and now Mother Owl won’t wake the sun so that the day can come.”, and each page adds a new sentence. The next page adds, “So, it was 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.” I believe this formatting of the book begins to give the book a rhythm, and further entices the reader. This folk tale is about how a mosquito’s lying to an iguana caused an entire jungle to react in chaos, to the point where the sun would not come up. The mosquito’s actions caused a chain reaction to occur, and in the end the book answers why mosquitoes whisper or buzz in people’s ears. The rhythm and rhyming within the book makes the book more enjoyable and fun to read, and was one of the best parts about the book.
I also liked how the tale included onomatopoeia on almost every page. For example, the snake in the story makes the “ wasawasu, wasawasu, wasawasu”, sound to imitate what a snake sounds like when they move across the ground. The crow in the story makes the “kaa, kaa, kaa!” sound in order to imitate what a crow sounds like when it is chirping out loud. I believe this helps the reader put themselves into the jungle as they can clearly not only imagine what is happening in the story, but they can hear it. I believe this combined with the rhythm of the book creates a vivid world for the reader to be in. It further engages the reader, and makes for a fantastic tale.
The message of this story is that people or animals in this sense should never tell lies. The mosquito’s small lie caused a catastrophe to happen, and chaos to break out. If he would not have lied, the baby owlet would not have lost its life. This book uses exaggeration to explain the consequences of lying, such as an owlet dying due to the actions of the mosquito. ( )
  AriannaMaine | Oct 12, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 223 (next | show all)
no reviews | add a review

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Verna Aardemaprimary authorall editionscalculated
Dillon, DianeIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoIllustratorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
For Marcia VanDuinen who heard this story first
First words
One morning a mosquito saw an iguana drinking at a waterhole.
Is everyone still mad at me?
Mosquito told me such a big lie, I couldn't bear to listen to it. So I put sticks in my ears.
I'd rather be deaf than listen to such nonsense!
It was the mosquito's fault
The mosquito said, "I saw a farmer digging yams that were almost as big as I am."
"What's a mosquito compared to a yam?" snapped the iguana grumpily.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language
Book description
This West African pourquoi tale explains why mosquitoes buzz in people's ears. It all starts with Mosquito telling a lie to Iguana. Tired of listening to Mosquito, Iguana puts twigs in his own ears. When Python tries to talk to Iguana and Iguana doesn't respond to him, it sets off a chain of events that leads to the sun not rising in the morning. King Lion must learn the story of the events leading back to Mosquito's lie in order to get Mother Owl to call the sun. The story is enhanced by beautiful Caldecott winning illustrations.

If you enjoyed this story, try "Ahanti to Zulu: African Traditions".
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

Reveals the meaning of the mosquito's buzz.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 10 descriptions

Quick Links

Popular covers


Average: (4.12)
1 3
2 6
2.5 4
3 57
3.5 12
4 130
4.5 17
5 123

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.


About | Contact | Privacy/Terms | Help/FAQs | Blog | Store | APIs | TinyCat | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | Common Knowledge | 123,921,428 books! | Top bar: Always visible