Scholastic Storybook Treasures has created a charming DVD for children age 4-8 with Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears and more African folk tales.
The title story is, to me, the most delightful of the bunch. This story was a favorite of my now-grown children when they were small. It explains the answer to a question that many of us may have pondered: Why do mosquitoes buzz in people’s ears, anyway? The illustrations by Leo and Diane Dillon are just amazing and will be as appreciated by adults as they are by children, and James Earl Jones narrates in his most expressive fashion.
Jones also narrates another charming tale on the DVD, “Who’s in Rabbit’s House?” which also has wonderful illustrations. This story tells a classic animal folk tale of the Masai people, using the framework of a village play with actors in animal heads playing all the parts. The animation is perfect and the story will make children laugh out loud.
Another animal story is “Hot Hippo,” which explains why hippos stay in the water by day and on the land eating grass at night. The illustrations on this one are more traditional, but colorful, and the story is fun.
Children will get a good look at life in modern-day South Africa in “Not So Fast Songololo,” in which a little boy visits the big city with his grandmother and gets a grand surprise, while “The Village of Round and Square Houses” tells a true story about a young girl growing up in West Africa in a village unique from any other, and explains why the men lived in square houses and the women in round ones.
All together, this is a wonderful collection of stories which will help children learn empathy with another part of the world as well as introduce them to the delights of folk tales from Africa. It is perfect for Black History Month, or any other part of the year for teachers and parents alike. The read-along feature is perfect for beginning readers and can be turned off for older readers as well.