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Mr. Mosquito

Mr. Mosquito Put On His Tuxedo
Written by Barbara Olenyik Morrow,
Illustrated by Ponder Goembel

A Richard Jackson Book
Ages 4-8
Holiday House 2009
ISBN: 978-0-8234-2072-8

“Everyone is a-buzz because the ball is about to begin! Mr. Mosquito, debonair in his top hat and tails, makes a grand entrance. Cockroaches, bedbugs, gnats and fleas—all are resplendent in Roaring Twenties attire. But wait. Eeeeeegad! What is that? An enormous bear is headed straight toward the party. Amidst the shrieking ladybugs and freaking fireflies, Mr. Mosquito gallantly steps forward, gathering his relatives and leading the charge: “Prepare! Point antennae! Deploy! / We swarm out tonight / to drive BIG FEET from sight. / Are you ready? Get set. Go annoy!!!!” Morrow’s staccato rhymes propel the story with a jaunty beat and inspire an exalted tone for a read-aloud—quite fitting for such an elegant occasion. As expected, bug puns abound in both text and art (some more forced than others), but Goembel’s insects are impeccably precise, even while dripping in beads and feathers. Pair this gala with Dee Lillegard’s The Big Bug Ball (1999), illustrated by Rex Barron, and storytime will become the social event of the year. Six-legged black tie required.”
— Kirkus Reviews

“The insect ball has attracted the crème de la crème of bugs: Queen Bee and her royal hive, lice waltzers, cockroach bartenders, gnat doormen, and of course Mr. Mosquito, a dapper gent in a tuxedo and top hat. Puns and double entendres dominate the party chitchat: Mosquito recalls attending a flea market; later, an attractive wasp compliments his anatomy, saying, “I daresay your stinger is quite a humdinger.” Near-tragedy strikes when “BIG FEET” (otherwise known as a bear) threatens to flatten them, but Mosquito and his kin save the day by deploying their ranks, shouting, “Are you ready? Get set. Go annoy!!!!” Goembel's spidery art-work cranks up the magnification...the rhymes are clever and the big ending-which reveals that the entire thing is happening beneath a kid's sock-is an amusing surprise”
— Daniel Kraus,

“The abundant and rhyming text is only half of this story; the illustrations tell the rest.”
— Catherine Callegari, School Library Journal
Ponder this:
“Creating an imaginary insect world was quite enjoyable.
My style and costumes were influenced by Edward Gorey’s
1930’s fashionably clothed and posed characters.”
— Ponder Goembel


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