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Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears

Last updated Friday, July 20, 2007

Author: Verna Aardema
Illustrator: Leo and Diane Dillon
Date of Publication: 1975
ISBN: 0803760892
Grade Level: 2nd    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Sep. 2005

Synopsis: [from the publisher] In this Caldecott Medal winner, Mosquito tells a story that causes a jungle disaster. "Elegance has become the Dillons' hallmark. . . . Matching the art is Aardema's uniquely onomatopoeic text . . . An impressive showpiece."--Booklist.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Define onomatopoeia. Is there one in the title? What others do you know? Try inventing some for actions that occur in the story (e.g. a big lizard bobbing its head).
•  What sound does mosquitoes make? What do mosquitoes do and why don?t people like them? What do you do when you see or hear a mosquito?
•  Look at the pictures on the cover. Where does the story take place?
•  What do you think the mosquito is saying to the man?
•  What does it mean to cause something? What is an effect? Can you do something that causes an effect that you can?t do anything about?
•  Ask the students what an iguana is and explain if they do not know.

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  As you read, have the students repeat the word that describes how each animal walks.
•  Why does the iguana refuse to listen to the mosquito? What does the iguana do?
•  What happens because the iguana refuses to listen to the mosquito? What happens when the python thinks the iguana is mad at him? What happens when the rabbit runs away? Etc.
•  How does King Lion resolve the issue of the night? What would you have done?
•  Why does the mosquito buzz in everyone?s ears? What answer does the mosquito receive for its question in the end?
•  Which animal is your favorite? What is the moral of the story?

Craft ideas:
•  Make the sun using paper plates and yellow paper. Trace each student?s hand on yellow paper seven times and have students cut out. Paste or staple outlines behind a paper plate so they look like the sun?s rays. Then color the plate and draw a face. Bring ahead option: paper plates and googly eyes.
•  Make an owl out of either three paper plates or three circles. Bring ahead option: paper plates, feathers, glue, and googly eyes.
•  Make flashcards depicting animals from the story and labeled with their names on top and the sounds they make on the back. You can also play the card game Memory using the flashcards.

Special activities:
•  Set up a domino chain and show the students what happens when the first one tips the second and so forth. Bring ahead option: dominoes.
•  Act out the various ways each animal walks and walk around the room playing Freeze.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!