Cover image for Zzzng! zzzng! zzzng! : a Yoruba tale
Zzzng! zzzng! zzzng! : a Yoruba tale
Gershator, Phillis.
Personal Author:
Publication Information:
New York : Orchard Books, [1998]

Physical Description:
32 unnumbered pages : color illustrations ; 27 cm
When Ear, Leg, and Arm refuse to marry Mosquito, she shows them that she is not to be ignored.
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Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PZ8.1.G353 Z98 1998 Juvenile Non-Fiction Childrens Area-Black History

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In the days when all things came together to make the world as it is, when all the animals and elements looked for mates to marry, mosquito began her search for a mate. But everytime she approached a prospective mate proposing marriage -- first Ear, then Arm, then Leg -- she was cruelly rebuffed, until soon, she became bitter and angry and started to bite. To this day, she continues to bite, and buzzes around Head and Ear to remind them that she's still there.

Reviews 2

Booklist Review

Ages 3^-6. When the world was new, as this Yoruba folktale goes, all things had to find their natural order. "When sun married day and moon married night, so it was for the animals too. That is why Mosquito flew around looking for someone to marry." Children will laugh at the silliness of Mosquito wanting to marry Ear, then Arm, then Leg, share her frustration at being rejected, and enjoy her biting, stinging, buzzing revenge as the bright illustrations transport them into the world of traditional fantasy. Smith's use of display type will delight them as well. Starting as dashes, the whirling mosquito's path is transformed into a printed spiral of words that delivers the mosquito's messages: "Here I come zzzum-zzzum to hum zzzum-zzzum and sing zzzng-zzzng . . ." Children following the coil of text will keeping turning the book in order to keep reading. This is good read-aloud fun, and it is a fine book to compare with Verna Aardema's Caldecott Medal winner Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears (1975). --Karen Morgan

School Library Journal Review

PreS-Gr 2-It is the time when all things on earth are finding mates. Mosquito asks Ear to marry her. Ear refuses, saying "You're so small and weak, you won't last in this world at all," and chooses to marry Head, who is "round and clever." The insect tries again and again to find a husband, singing, "Here I come zzzum-zzzum/to hum zzzum-zzzum/and sing zzzng-zzzng/rain or shine zzzng-zzzng/I'm yours zzzng zzzng/if you're mine zzzng-zzzng./Let us marry,/marry,/marry!" But Arm weds Chest and Leg commits to Hips. Mosquito vows to prove that she is not small and weak and bites Arm and Leg. She also keeps Ear awake: "Are you listening, Ear?/ZZZNG-ZZZNG, ZZZNG-ZZZNG./I'm still around in this world!" Even after she finds a mosquito mate, she continues to bite and buzz. The deeply colored paintings with black outlines show a bold bug proposing to the different body parts, which are shaded in warm tones. The illustrations span the tops of double-page spreads or fill the left-hand pages, with clear text on white space beneath or to the right, making for a flowing design. The words of the insect's songs spiral through the illustrations. Kids will enjoy Mosquito's revenge and her onomatopoetic verses. An author's note provides sources for the story. A strongly executed version of a clever how-and-why tale.-Sally Bates Goodroe, Harris County Public Library, Houston, TX (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.