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Verna Aardema (1911–2000)

Autor(a) de Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears

36+ Works 11,630 Membros 451 Reviews 1 Favorited

About the Author

Verna Aardema was born on June 6, 1911 in New Era Michigan. She received her B.A. degree from Michigan State College of Agriculture and Applied Sciences in 1934. She was a grade school teacher from 1934 to 1973 and staff correspondent for the Muskegon Chronicle from 1951 to 1972. Aardema started mostrar mais writing children's stories in the 1950's, and in 1960 she published her first books, Tales from the Story Hat and The Sky God Stories. She specializes in the modernization and adaptation of traditional African folktales. In the 1970s, Aardema joined illustrators Leo and Diane Dillon and produced three picture books. Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears received the Caldecott Medal in 1976 and the Brooklyn Art Books for Children Award in 1977. Who's in Rabbit's House? was the 1977 School Library Journal Best Book of the Year and a Lewis Carroll Shelf Award winner in 1978. Aardema received the Children's Reading Round Table Award in 1981, and several of her books have been selected as Notable Books by the American Library Association. Oh Kojo! How Could You! won the 1984 Parents' Choice Award for Literature. Verna Aardema died in 2000. mostrar menos
Image credit: Verna Aardema Vugteveen

Obras de Verna Aardema

Associated Works

Cricket Magazine, Vol. 2, No. 12, August 1975 — Contribuinte — 2 cópias
Cricket Magazine, Vol. 6, No. 4, December 1978 — Contribuinte — 1 exemplar(es)


Conhecimento Comum

Nome padrão
Aardema, Verna
Nome de batismo
Aardema Vugteveen, Verna
Data de nascimento
Data de falecimento
Local de enterro
Norton Cemetery, Norton Shores, Muskegon, Michigan, USA
País (para mapa)
Local de nascimento
New Era, Michigan, USA
Local de falecimento
Fort Myers, Florida, USA
Locais de residência
Michigan, USA
Michigan State University
children's book author
Pequena biografia
A prolific American children's author and teacher, Verna Norberg Aardema Vugteveen - more commonly known as Verna Aardema - was born in 1911 in New Era, Michigan. She was educated at Michigan State University, and taught grade school from 1934-1973. She also worked as a journalist for the Muskegon Chronicle from 1951-1972. In 1960 she published her first book, the collection of stories, Tales from the Story Hat. She went on to write over thirty more books, most of them folkloric retellings. Her picture-book, Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People's Ears, won co-illustrators Leo and Diane Dillon a Caldecott Medal. Aardema was married twice, and died in 2000 in Fort Myers, Florida. (source: Wikipedia)



Noted children's folklorist Verna Aardema presents nine African folktales in this lovely collection from 1969, taken primarily from various West African traditions, and from the Masai of Kenya. Engaging, entertaining, sometimes amusing, these stories are well worth reading! Selections include:

Ananse and the King's Cow, a Temne tale from Sierra Leone, in which Frog shows Ananse the spider how he harvests fat from the king's friendly cow, hopping into its stomach, harvesting strips, and leaving without touching the heart. Greedy Ananse returns on his own, taking all of the fat and killing the cow. Even this misfortune he turns to his advantage however, managing to gain three lives cows, in exchange for killing one.

The Long One, a Masai story in which Tricksy Rabbit's home is commandeered by a very intimidating creature called the Long One, who won't show himself, and won't leave. A series of animals attempt to help Tricksy, but it is only Frog who is clever enough to beat the Long One at his own game. Aardema retold this story in her 1977 picture book, illustrated by Leo and Diane Dillon, Who's In Rabbit's House?: A Masai Tale Retold.

Gizo's Counting Trick, a Hausa tale from Nigeria, in which the clever spider Gizo gains some figs after outwitting a murder of crows, and manages to fool a congregation of alligators long enough to eat most of their eggs. Although I tend to associate the spider trickster hero of West African lore with the name Anansi, this is actually the Akan name for this character, whom the Hausa call Gizo (a word meaning male spider).

Hyena and the Oil With the Flies in It, a Masai tale in which Engojine the hyena gains access to a lion's den, thanks to Gitojo the hare, but becomes trapped inside when he fails to pay attention to the incantation he must use to exit. Made a servant of the lion, Engojine is horrified when he accidentally kills her cub, and invents a series of lies which eventually get him into trouble.

Ikpoom, an Akan-Ashanti tale from Ghana in which the titular hero disgusts his both his fellow men and all the wild creatures with his constant tall tales, until Ananse decides to teach him a lesson.

Ol-Ambu and He-of-the-Long-Sleeping-Place, a Masai tale from the Kapiti Plains, in which Ol-Ambu the boaster enlists the help of his friend Pambito to hunt the great giraffe, He-of-the-Long-Sleeping-Place. When the hunt does not go as expected and Ol-Ambu denies his friend his share of the meat, Pambito takes his revenge by tricking Ol-Ambu's wife Enoti, and taking most of the meat after all.

The Lonely Lioness and the Ostrich Chicks, another Masai tale, in which Engatuny the lioness kidnaps the children of E-sidai the ostrich, and declares them her own children. E-sidai seeks help from the other animals, but only the mongoose is clever and brave enough to find a way to get them back. This story was subsequently retold by Aardema in picture book form, in The Lonely Lioness and the Ostrich Chicks: A Masai Tale (1996), illustrated by Yumi Heo.

Kindai and the Ape, a story purported to be from the Ondo kingdom in Nigeria, in which a hunter named Kindai helps a great ape with a thorn stuck in his foot, despite the fact that his people and the apes are enemies. Some time later, when the apes attack his village, and one makes off with his son, Kindai is able to save him, because the kidnapping ape is none other than the one he once aided. According to the notes here, this story comes from the 1930 The Folk Tales of a Savage, by Bata Kindai Amgoza ibn LoBagola.

In trying to learn more about this author, I discovered that he was really an imposter, an African American named Joseph Howard Lee, who masqueraded as an African "savage" and entertainer, and who published an autobiography entitled LoBagola; an African Savage's Own Story. Given that this is so, I am doubtful as to whether the stories presented in the folktale collection actually represent traditional tales from Africa, or whether they were Lee's own creations. Given that the hero is named Kindai, which is also part of the stage name taken by the author, it seems likely that this was an original creation, or a loose retelling of a story of unknown origin.

Little Sister and the Zimwi, a Swahili tale from Zanzibar, in which a little girl is kidnapped by the ogreish Zimwi, placed in his drum, and made to sing on his command. It falls to the girl's mother, who recognizes her voice, to rescue the girl. Aardema would retell this story again, in her 1985 picture book Bimwili and the Zimwi: A Tale from Zanzibar, illustrated by Susan Meddaugh.

As a great fan of Verna Aardema's work, as well a folklore enthusiast, I enjoyed this collection immensely, appreciating both the story and the accompanying artwork from illustrator Ib Ohlsson. At this point I've read almost everything this author has published, so it was interesting to see that I was already familiar with a number of the tales, from subsequent retellings. Recommended to young folktale lovers, particularly those with an interest in African lore.
… (mais)
AbigailAdams26 | Apr 13, 2024 |
Independent Reading Level: Ages 5-8
Awards: Caldecott Medal (1976)
warnackle10 | outras 284 resenhas | Apr 3, 2024 |
Independent reading level grades second through fourth
Traditional literature, pourquio tale
Teannawiggins21 | outras 284 resenhas | Mar 28, 2024 |
An iguana doesn't like the buzz he hears from a mosquito, and a long chain of events is started off which ends in the death of an owlet. The animals hold and council under King Lion to investigate the matter. Who's responsible for the death of the owlet?
KristenRoper | outras 284 resenhas | Mar 14, 2024 |



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