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mule's-ears

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears

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.

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