Zzzng! Zzzng! Zzzng!: A Yoruba Tale

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Shalini Murthy
For children familiar with the classic Why Mosquitoes Buzz in Peoples Ears, here is a story of why mosquitoes bite too! Mosquito wants to get married. She sings a lovely song to attract her potential mate but is rebuffed by each of them-Ear, Arm and Leg. Angry at being scorned, she turns her song into a buzz and also discovers that there is another way to draw some attention to herself. Adapted from a traditional Yoruba tale, this book makes a great read aloud. The cultural authenticity of the tale is reflected in the way the story begins as well as in the repetitive elements in the story, hallmarks of tales from Africa. The author's note at the beginning of the book adds to the folktale's cultural accuracy. The illustrations in pastels and crayons are lush and colorful, reminiscent of African art.
School Library Journal
PreS-Gr 2-It is the time when all things on earth are finding mates. Mosquito asks Ear to marry her. Ear refuses, saying "You're so small and weak, you won't last in this world at all," and chooses to marry Head, who is "round and clever." The insect tries again and again to find a husband, singing, "Here I come zzzum-zzzum/to hum zzzum-zzzum/and sing zzzng-zzzng/rain or shine zzzng-zzzng/I'm yours zzzng zzzng/if you're mine zzzng-zzzng./Let us marry,/marry,/marry!" But Arm weds Chest and Leg commits to Hips. Mosquito vows to prove that she is not small and weak and bites Arm and Leg. She also keeps Ear awake: "Are you listening, Ear?/ZZZNG-ZZZNG, ZZZNG-ZZZNG./I'm still around in this world!" Even after she finds a mosquito mate, she continues to bite and buzz. The deeply colored paintings with black outlines show a bold bug proposing to the different body parts, which are shaded in warm tones. The illustrations span the tops of double-page spreads or fill the left-hand pages, with clear text on white space beneath or to the right, making for a flowing design. The words of the insect's songs spiral through the illustrations. Kids will enjoy Mosquito's revenge and her onomatopoetic verses. An author's note provides sources for the story. A strongly executed version of a clever how-and-why tale.-Sally Bates Goodroe, Harris County Public Library, Houston, TX
Kirkus Reviews
After Mosquito proposes in turn to Ear, Arm, and Leg, and is turned down for being too small and weak to last, she angrily turns on them: "I'll bite zzzng-zzzng/deep, deep zzzng-zzzng/in your sleep zzzng-zzzng." Gershator (Sweet, Sweet Fig Banana, 1996, etc.) expands a story found in a language textbook, adding sound effects and giving Mosquito an appreciative mate in the end├ża male mosquito: "You please me a lot," he says, "you're big and strong, and I like your music too." Nonetheless, conjugal bliss doesn't stop Mosquito from passing her biting ways on to her children. Smith illustrates this alternative to Verna Aardema's classic Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears (1975) with close-ups of striped Mosquito, bristling with pointed extremities, against backgrounds of saturated blues and greens. A simple, clever story that will not only be new to young readers, but in this lively recasting lends itself equally well to reading alone or out loud. (Picture book/folklore. 5-8)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780531095232
  • Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
  • Publication date: 9/1/1997
  • Pages: 32
  • Age range: 3 - 6 Years
  • Product dimensions: 9.33 (w) x 10.56 (h) x 0.41 (d)

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