A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this folktale about cause and effect uses lots of sound effects (buzz, hiss).
What's the story?
This is a jazzy inventive rendition of the West African folktale explaining the mosquito's buzz. A boast by a mosquito sends events bumping into each other like dominos until the lion must call the animals together to untangle the truth. Aardema uses juicy words to introduce African animals and the sounds they make--"badamin badamin" went the iguana, "wasawusu" went the python. An irresistible read-aloud.
Is it any good?
This book is a gem, from the artwork that resembles the glories of stained glass, to the cumulative power of the story's progress, to the highly original words Aardema has invented for the animals. It is also a vibrant tale of consequences and personal responsibility, even if it ends on a note of high comedy. The Dillons' illustrations are sumptuous, boldly outlined and full of feeling. Each character is given a distinct personality: The iguana is a curmudgeon, the monkey is a piece of trouble, the mosquito is a menace.
As a read-aloud, the book has particular merit. Just watch as 5-year-olds try to wrap their lips around sounds like "purup" and "nge nge nge." Read with verve, the story pulses with life. Even the most timid of listeners are happy to join in that last KPAO!