Friday, February 10, 2012

GUEST BLOG: KidVid: Commemorate Black History Month with African Folk Tales

Welcome guest blogger, "Miss" Bob Etier, my wife. This is one of several pieces she's done for Black History Week.  I'm sure she would LOVE a few comments!
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears is a beautifully illustrated (by Leo and Diane Dillon) folk tale, melodiously narrated by James Earl Jones. Written by Verna Aardema, it is a cause and effect story that uses many animals of the jungle to explain that terrible mosquito buzzing we all hate. It is also the title story on a new DVD from Scholastic Storybook Treasures, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears…and more African folk tales. This is an engaging narrative with repetitive passages (much like “There Was an Old Woman who Swallowed a Fly”) that comes full circle, starting and ending with that vile buzz.
Hot Hippo illustrates the deal a hippo makes in order to escape the hot, hot sun and live in the cool water. The story, written by Bruce Hobson and illustrated by Adrienne Kennaway, is a lesson on why the hippo walks along the bottom of the river, swishes his tale, and “opens wide” during the day, and grazes on land at night.
There are three more stories on Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears…and more African folk tales:
Not So Fast Sonololo (written and illustrated by Niki Daly), a modern story about a little boy who likes to do things slowly. He accompanies his grandmother (Gogo) shopping in the city, where things move too fast and are too confusing for her. Gogo gets her groceries and Sonololo gets something that makes him want to move a little more quickly.
The Village of Round and Square Houses (written and illustrated by Ann Grifalconi) is an old village in the remote hills of Africa in which men live in square houses and women live in round houses. A young girl describes life and customs in the village and her family, and tells how an ancient volcano determined their way of life.

• James Earl Jones narrates Who’s in Rabbit’s House, a Masai folktale adapted by Verna Aardema and illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon. Rabbit is afraid because a monstrous beast (the “Long One” who eats trees and tramples on elephants) has taken over her house, threatened her, and won’t allow her entry. Turning away Frog’s offer of aid, Rabbit turns to Jackal for help, but his idea would destroy the house. Much to Frog’s amusement, Leopard, Elephant, and Rhinoceros come by with equally silly suggestions. Finally, in frustration, Rabbit allows Frog to tackle the problem
Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears…and more African folk tales includes an optional read-along feature. It is recommended for ages four through eight and supports reading skills, friendship, cooperation, problem-solving, helping, and creativity. It was released January 24, 2012, by NewVideo.

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