Literature: Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears
A 1975 classic children's picture book and African folktale by Verna Aardema and illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. It won the Caldecott Award in 1976.The plot is simple: one day, a mosquito decides to annoy an iguana by telling him a lie about a farmer and some yams. Annoyed, the iguana grabs a pair of sticks and shoves them in his ears. The iguana passes the snake, who greets him, but the iguana doesn't hear him and walks away. The snake, convinced that the iguana is plotting against him, slithers into the nearest hole to hide, which (very unfortunately) happens to be a rabbit burrow. The rabbit that lives in the burrow runs for her life when she sees the snake coming, which confuses a passing crow into thinking that the forest is in danger. He calls the alarm to warn the other animals, and a monkey tries to help him by doing the same thing, but accidentally breaks off a dead branch on a tree, which falls on one of Mother Owl's baby owlets, killing it. When Mother Owl comes home, she finds her child dead and goes into mourning, forgetting to wake the sun. The animals' king, a lion, calls all the animals to a meeting, and through a reverse chain of accounts, the mosquito is found guilty. To this day, she hides under leaves and whines in people's ears: "Zeee! Is everyone still angry at me?"An animated short film adaptation was produced in 1984, and narrated by James Earl Jones.
Provides examples of:
- Accidental Murder: How the monkey takes out one of the baby owlets.
- Blatant Lies: "Today I saw a farmer digging yams as big as I am!"
- Cue the Sun: Mother Owl makes the sun come up when the animals finally decide to punish the mosquito.
- Designated Villain: The mosquito is blamed for everything.
- Disaster Dominoes: Even provides the page quote.
- Everything's Better with Monkeys: Again, inverted. See Accidental Murder above.
- Heroic BSOD: Mother Owl's prevents her from waking the sun.
- Infant Immortality: Averted — in a children's book, no less.
- Karma Houdini: Neither the monkey nor the mosquito are punished for killing the owlet or setting off the Disaster Dominoes chain at the end of the story although it's slightly for the latter when get she gets an answer to the title.
- The animals do call for the mosquito to be punished, which is the only way they satisfy Mother Owl to get her to wake the sun. None of them can find the mosquito to punish her, though.
- Killed Off for Real: Guess who.
- Necro Non Sequitur
- Never My Fault: When the lion assembles all the animals for a meeting to find out why Mother Owl isn't doing her job, they all start blaming each other, and eventually everyone decides it's Mosquito's fault.
- Poor Communication Kills: Oh, God...
- White and Gray Morality