Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears: A West African Tale
is a picture book
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 Award 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.