Hands-On Activity for Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears

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Hands-On Activities for Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears at LibraryAdventure.com Buzz, buzz, krik, kirk…these are the sounds you will hear in Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A West African Tale, retold by Verna Aardema.

Our Book Club recently read this beautiful story and it quickly became a favorite with all of the children (ages 7–14). We used this book as an example of folktales. Folktales are stories that have been shared verbally from one generation to another. They usually contain a lesson or moral. This tale is also a “pourquoi tale” (pourquoi, pronounced por-kwah, means “why” in French) as it was used to explain “why” something in nature occurred.

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears tells the tale of the mosquito. This little creature begins the story by attempting to tell his friend iguana about a farmer digging yams. The grumpy iguana doesn’t believe the tall tale his friend is telling so he puts two sticks in his ears and walks away in a huff. As the other animals pass by the iguana they are confused about his actions. Iguana has no idea he sets off a chain of unfortunate events impacting all of the animals in the forest.

Despite a rather sad turn of events, this story shifts back from darkness to light, a theme that is beautifully represented by the books’ Caldecott Award winning illustrators Diane and Leo Dillon.

Craft Time

One of the main characters in this tale is Mother Owl. It is the Owl’s responsibility to wake the sun each morning and bring daylight to the forest. To celebrate this book our children decided to make an entire owl family using a few items we already had around the house.

Simple Owl Craft from LibraryAdventure.com

To make this simple owl craft you will need:

  • Paper towel rolls (toilet paper rolls and wrapping paper rolls work too)
  • Markers

Simply cut the paper rolls to the desired height (taller for Mother Owl and shorter for the baby owls). Fold half of the top edge of the roll toward the center then fold the other top edge toward the center.  This will form two points at the top of the roll, forming the owl’s ears. Decorate the owl with markers, drawing on the eyes, beak, wings, and feathers.

To add a little more decoration to your owls use paint, construction paper/tissue paper, glue, stickers or any other supplies you have around the house.

Create your own owl family with simple instructions from LibraryAdventure.com (plus a book to go with it!)

As you can see, our owls are quite unique!

For even more ideas for bringing this story to life, visit our Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears Pinterest Board

Find It in Your Library!

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears on Amazon (affiliate link)

  • Title: Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A Western African Tale
  • Author: Verna Aardema
  • Pictures by: Leo and Diane Dillon
About Susan Williams

As a veteran educator I am always looking for new ways to bring learning to life for my family. I enjoy traveling, sharing ideas with other moms, and helping my children explore the world around them. Our favorite subjects to study together are history, literature and geography. I blog about our educational adventures at Education Possible and I share literature related resources at World for Learning


  1. I love your owls! So cute 🙂


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