The Mosquito Brothers

The Mosquito Brothers

Written by: Ondaatje, Griffin
Illustrated by: Salcedo, Erica
ages 7 to 9 / grades 2 to 4

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Accompanied by quirky line drawings by Spanish illustrator Erica Salcedo, this is a gently humorous and remarkably informative nature-adventure story about an unlikely pointy-nosed hero with big dreams and an even bigger heart.

After he nearly drowns in a parking-lot puddle, Dinnn Needles is fearful of many things, including flying. When his four hundred siblings swarm off without him, he finds time to dream —about family stories, a lost brother, adventure in The Wild and, above all, how to be cool.

At school in an abandoned air-conditioner, Dinnn learns about the deadly Pondhawk dragonfly and other dangers that lie beyond his home under a drive-in theater screen. But Dinnn never really takes to city life. Lonely and left out, he is filled with an unexplained longing. He sips spilled cola from abandoned pop cans, but it is not as tasty as flower nectar. He tries to make friends with the local street mosquitoes, but that just lands him in a sewer filled with spiders and water snakes. He hears about the red mini-van that brought his parents together and wonders about his extended family in the country. He even finds a great black jacket in a roadside ditch, but it doesn’t make him cool.

And then one day, as fate would have it, the red mini-van reappears, giving Dinnn a chance to visit to his relatives in The Wild, where new perils await an inexperienced city mosquito — being struck by a raindrop, zapped by a porch light or snapped up by a hungry fish at dusk. But in the end Dinnn discovers that being cool is a matter of what you do, especially for one’s friends and family, including two new brothers. 

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.3
Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events

Accompanied by quirky line drawings by Spanish illustrator Erica Salcedo, this is a gently humorous and remarkably informative nature-adventure story about an unlikely pointy-nosed hero with big dreams and an even bigger heart.

After he nearly drowns in a parking-lot puddle, Dinnn Needles is fearful of many things, including flying. When his four hundred siblings swarm off without him, he finds time to dream —about family stories, a lost brother, adventure in The Wild and, above all, how to be cool.

At school in an abandoned air-conditioner, Dinnn learns about the deadly Pondhawk dragonfly and other dangers that lie beyond his home under a drive-in theater screen. But Dinnn never really takes to city life. Lonely and left out, he is filled with an unexplained longing. He sips spilled cola from abandoned pop cans, but it is not as tasty as flower nectar. He tries to make friends with the local street mosquitoes, but that just lands him in a sewer filled with spiders and water snakes. He hears about the red mini-van that brought his parents together and wonders about his extended family in the country. He even finds a great black jacket in a roadside ditch, but it doesn’t make him cool.

And then one day, as fate would have it, the red mini-van reappears, giving Dinnn a chance to visit to his relatives in The Wild, where new perils await an inexperienced city mosquito — being struck by a raindrop, zapped by a porch light or snapped up by a hungry fish at dusk. But in the end Dinnn discovers that being cool is a matter of what you do, especially for one’s friends and family, including two new brothers. 

Correlates to the Common Core State Standards in English Language Arts:

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.3
Describe characters in a story (e.g., their traits, motivations, or feelings) and explain how their actions contribute to the sequence of events

Published By Groundwood Books Ltd — Apr 24, 2015
Specifications 128 pages | 5.5 in x 8.5 in
Written By Griffin Ondaatje is a writer and documentary filmmaker. He edited The Monkey King and Other Stories, a collection of South Asian tales. He directed Complete Unknown, a documentary feature film on Bob Dylan, and worked as a producer for CBC's Documentary Unit. His next book is a children’s novel entitled The Mosquito Brothers. He has three children and lives in Toronto with his family.
Illustrated by Erica Salcedo has a Master’s degree in graphic design and illustration from the University of Valencia. She lives in Cuenca, Spain.
Written By
Griffin Ondaatje is a writer and documentary filmmaker. He edited The Monkey King and Other Stories, a collection of South Asian tales. He directed Complete Unknown, a documentary feature film on Bob Dylan, and worked as a producer for CBC's Documentary Unit. His next book is a children’s novel entitled The Mosquito Brothers. He has three children and lives in Toronto with his family.
Illustrated by
Erica Salcedo has a Master’s degree in graphic design and illustration from the University of Valencia. She lives in Cuenca, Spain.
Audience ages 7 to 9 / grades 2 to 4
Reading Levels Lexile 640L
Key Text Features table of contents; illustrations; author's note; quiz
Common Core CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.3.3

“A compelling coming-of-age tale. . . . Recommended.” —CM Magazine

“Despite references to mosquitos’ short life spans and other trivia, Ondaatje keeps the actual bloodsucking and insect mortality to a minimum, focusing on Dinnn’s initial fear of flight and on his large family’s light misadventures.” —Publishers Weekly

“A light and entertaining allegory about overcoming fear, being true to yourself, and finding your wings.” —Quill & Quire

“Ondaatje weaves his make-believe entomological utopia with a plethora of well-researched 'did-you-know' facts.” —National Post