Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears by Verna Aadema and Leo Dillon

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears by Verna Aadema and Leo Dillon

Folklore books are usually influential and exciting as they give the reason for the day-to-day activities and realities that are at times beyond human explanation (Grimm 13). The book, Why Mosquitoes buzz in People’s Ears is about the results of lying to other people and the effect of lying to others. Aadema’s uses playful narrative, colorful, and vibrant illustrations to make the book interesting for children and adults alike. The power of the author to retell the old West African folktale is applied in a dramatic and funny manner that makes the story memorable to the children and adults alike. The lies that the mosquito share brings chaos in the forest and the unfortunate death of one an owlet to Mother Owl (Aadema 4). The incidences took place in an extremely dramatic manner and teaches children that lying negatively affect the lives of other people, irrespective of the lifestyle and behavior of the victims. From the life experience of the mosquito, lying can make someone become seriously hurt physically and mentally.

Diane and Leo’s application of vibrant illustrations creatively display all animals in a flat style and design such that the mosquito is bigger than all the other animals. This illustration is contrary to the reality where mosquitoes are in fact smaller than most of the animals. This illustration suggests that the mosquito is more of a pest whereas the other animals tend to fend for themselves in the forest. Written in simplified English, thus for easy understanding, the book enthralls children with its wonderful story of the west.
Born in New Era, Michigan, Aadema graduated from the Michigan state with a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism in 1934 (Aadema 1). She had her first job as a grade school teacher up to 1973. Other than the teaching role, Aadema assumed the role of correspondence for the Muskegon Chronicle until 1972. Ever since she was a little girl, the author was passionate on writing and spent every free time reading anything she could get her hands on. In her senior year in the university, she won three writing contests, which greatly influenced her childhood dream. Her first publication was in 1960 when she published her first set of stories, which were rather successful. She continued to adapt to traditional tales and folklore borrowed from distant cultures such as from Africa and Mexico. These cultures have been useful in exposing young children to diverse human expression. She published her book, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears in 1975.

Aadema draw the attention to moral conduct of children as they grow up. From her perspective, children should keep off from lying and try to assist other people as well as live together in harmony to avoid hurting other people. In addition to this, the author brings to attention the necessity for children to avoid upsetting others. Parents are called to be watchful of their children to guide them so that the society would be at peace without upsetting sensitive children and adults. Just as Mother Own lost her young one, so should parents be careful to avoid such loses since anyone within the society can fall a victim of such circumstances. Moreover, parents are encouraged to be sympathetic of others’ situations when they fall into similar circumstances as Mother Owl who lost her Owlet. This is because just as the animal in the story, people become so distraught when they find themselves in such predicaments. Parents need to assure their young ones over the issue of death as at times, people become more frightened over the subject of death. Parents need to apply these lessons on reality and be there for their children even as they explain to them the reality of death of a person.

The book is thus a wonderful and cautions publication with real life applications. The book cautions people over the consequences of telling people lies and lead to societal disharmony. I found the book so much enjoyable and hence many children would find it more enjoyable especially with the clear and vibrant illustrations of the forest life. Since it deals with tough issues such as death, I would recommend it to children from age five to adulthood. From the cultural background, it is apparent that Aadema conducted research on the culture from the West African people to derive such captivating stories. These studies were accomplished through the adverse readings of stories that originated from the African continent. Aadema read and studied stories from the African culture when she was still a young girl. Developing this knowledge together with her love for writing, Aadema has creatively developed the story to teach a moral lesson for future citizens (Bunyan 12). Reading folklore books greatly contributed to production of this story. The exploration the author conducted was secondary research, with the primary source of information being African Culture. The interest she developed of the Africa guided her to such creative stories for children. The strengths of the narrative lie in the easy to read English language and the colorful and vibrant colors used to write the book. Despite the background coming from Africa, the book has mostly been published in the western and thus denies international audience from obtaining a glimpse of the morals expected for children to develop as they grow.


Works Cited

Aadema Verna, Dillon, Leo, & Dillon Diane. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears. Brooklyn:

Brooklyn Art Books. 1976. Print

Bunyan Paul. A Treasury of American Folklore. NJ: Bonanza. 1993. Print

Grimm Jacob. The Complete Grimm’s fairy Tales. NJ: Bonanza. 1989. Print