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The animal sound effects from “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A West African Tale” by Verna Aardema really resonate with children. Children invent creative sounds when they represent their favorite creatures.
Share the cover of “Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears: A West African Tale” with students. Ask children to predict why they think mosquitoes buzz. Write their ideas on a white board using Crayola® Dry Erase Markers. Encourage children to make sounds like buzzing mosquitoes.
Ask children to consider this African folktale that describes one possible explanation of why mosquitoes buzz in people’s ears. Encourage children to listen carefully for the unique, creative sounds the animals in the story make. Ask children to repeat those as you read.
During the reading, ask children if they notice something a little unusual about the illustration style. Keep the suspense about what it is for as long as possible.
Review the story, discussing the sounds each animal made. Take a second look at the illustrations. Ask children to describe how white or light-colored lines are used to outline the drawings. How could they do that in their own art?
Ask children to choose a favorite animal from the story, an animal that intrigues them, or invent an imaginary one.
Invite them to choose colorful, dark Crayola Construction Paper on which to draw with Crayola Construction Paper™ Crayons. If needed, demonstrate how to first outline the exterior shape of their animal, and then define the animal’s interior parts, using white or another light color. Children may even want to practice this technique on scrap paper first.
Children fill the spaces between the outlines with color.
When children finish, have them present their work to the class. First, ask them to present the sound the animal makes. Keep the drawing a mystery. Can classmates identify the animal from its sound? Make sure everyone repeats the sound before the name of the animal is revealed. Then ask children to describe the animal parts that are depicted in their drawings.
Explore how Lane Smith’s illustrations contribute to the mood created by the words of Jon Scieszka in their book, The Ma
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