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Humor General

The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito

by (author) Tomson Highway

illustrated by Sue Todd

Fifth House Books
Initial publish date
Sep 2016
General, Canadian, Native American & Aboriginal
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Sep 2016
    List Price

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Timely, Fun, Challenging and Wise!
Tomson Highway's musical cabaret, The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito, couldn't be more vividly presented unless you were sitting in the middle seat of the front row watching the Cree playwright, performer, musician and poet himself. The story of a wingless little mosquito from Manitoba has all the whimsy and wise humour any audience could ask for.

The ageless theme of a misfit, who finds her voice through song and who learns to make friends by communicating directly with her audience, is a timely treat for anyone who has felt like an outsider, dealt with bullying, moved to a new place, or was different from the rest of the pack.

The entire script is here, complete with song lyrics, stage directions, Cree vocabulary, and challenging tongue twisters to delight all ages. A perfect book for drama students, teachers, and theatre enthusiasts, this beautiful full-colour volume serves as an interactive read-aloud for the young, or a great way to introduce students to the joys of staging a musical production.

About the authors

Tomson Highway
Tomson Highway was born near Maria Lake, Manitoba in 1951. Living a nomadic lifestyle with no access to books, television or radio, Highway’s parents would tell their children stories, kindling Highway’s life-long interest in the oral tradition of storytelling.

Tomson Highway is widely recognized for his tremendous contribution to the development of Aboriginal theatre in both Canada and around the world.

In 1994, he was inducted into the Order of Canada, the first Aboriginal writer to be so honoured.

Tomson Highway's profile page

Sue Todd is an award-winning illustrator living in Toronto, Ontario. She is a graduate of the Ontario College of Art (now OCAD University). Sue began her career as a freelance designer in retail advertising. For a more creative outlet, she took up linoleum carving, an ancient printmaking technique similar to woodcut, and developed a unique style of art that led to a career in illustration. Sue has created images for a wide range of clients, from advertising and corporate to editorial and publishing, including illustrations for An African Alphabet and The Wild Beast.


Sue Todd's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Highways enthusiastic song lyrics vary in structure and scansion, providing ample creative opportunity for readers who want to sing them. . . As a play, this would be a piquant choice for a teenage troupe; as a picture book, its best used with early elementary children."
Kirkus Reviews

"A timely treat for anyone who has felt like an outsider, dealt with bullying, moved to a new place, or was different from the rest of the pack... Highly recommended for family, school, and community library collections."
Midwest Book Review

"The middle of winter when mosquitoes don't bug us may be the perfect time to contemplate the growth and peregrinations of Tomson Highway's little mosquito girl, whose winglessness brings her mockery and general misfittery throughout her school career. With panache and energy, Highway gives us her story in monologue in three different languages — Cree, French and, mostly, English. This is the script for a one-woman musical in one act; it's odd, but nevertheless satisfying, to find here the musicality, wit and moral warmth of Highway's lyrics — even without accompanying score and piano player. Todd's illustrations, in the style of woodcuts, jazz up the rhythms and emotional intensity of Mary Jane's trials with an abundance of quivering black lines and flamboyant colour. This mosquito may not fly, but she sings with infectious vigour. Dedicated to "disabled children everywhere," this is really a story about finding one's voice."
The Toronto Star

"Tomson Highway's musical cabaret, The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito, is a most unusual book. It represents a mixture of commentary about bullying, disabilities, leadership, isolation, identity, and residential school experiences. Together with Sue Todd's illustrations, Highway's written text makes powerful statements that are informative and thought-provoking.
Highly Recommended."
CM Magazine

Other titles by Tomson Highway

Other titles by Sue Todd