Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book

Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book

by Yuyi Morales


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From three-time Pura Belpré Winner Yuyi Morales, a delightful alphabet picture book about a Día de los Muertos skeleton who must find the perfect birthday gift (or gifts!)

A 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year

Winner of the 2009 Pura Belpré Medal for Illustration

A Pura Belpré Honor Book for Narrative

Yuyi Morales takes us on a new journey with Señor Calvera, the skeleton from Day of the Dead celebrations. Señor Calvera is worried. He can't figure out what to give Grandma Beetle for her birthday. Misunderstanding the advice of Zelmiro the Ghost, Señor Calvera decides not to get her one gift, but instead one gift for every letter of the alphabet, just in case.

Una Acordéon: An accordion for her to dance to.

Bigotes: A mustache because she has none.

Cosquillas: Tickles to make her laugh . . .

. . . only to find out at the end of the alphabet that the best gift of all is seeing her friends. Morales's art glows in this heart-warming original tale with folklore themes, a companion book to her Pura Belpré-winning Just a Minute.

In English with Spanish vocabulary words

Award-winning author and illustrator Yuyi Morales is the author of Caldecott Honor and Pura Belpré (Illustrator) Medal-winning Viva Frida, stunning bilingual bedtime story Little Night/Nochecita, Rudas: Niño's Horrendous Hermanitas, Pura Belpré Honor Book (Narrative) Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book, and other picture books for young readers. She also illustrated Thunder Boy Jr., written by Sherman Alexie, and Pura Belpré (Illustration) Medal and Pura Belpré (Narrative) Honor book Los Gatos Black on Halloween, written by Marisa Montes.

Written by Yuyi Morales:

Niño Wrestles the World

Rudas: Niño's Horrendous Hermanitas

Viva Frida

Little Night / Nochecita

Illustrated by Yuyi Morales:

Los Gatos Black on Halloween (written by Marisa Montes)

Praise for Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book:

"Richly hued and filled with action, the illustrations capture the tale’s humor and Latin flavor perfectly, leading on to an entirely logical, hilarious and heartwarming surprise at the end. As gifted an artist as she is a storyteller, Morales is in top form here." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review

"Drenched in rich hues, the light-filled illustrations add a whimsical dimension to this trickster tale and Spanish alphabet book. When disaster strikes and all the presents fly from Calavera’s bike basket, there is nonetheless a happy ending that brings both story and alphabet to a rollicking conclusion. This companion to Morales’ award-winning Just a Minute (2003) will be a hit for storytime." —Booklist

“A perfect read aloud picture book for a birthday party celebration, grandmother's day, el dia de los muertos or any time of the year. Highly recommended.” —Reforma

"[A] breezily told tale, rich in Spanish vocabulary and Mexican atmosphere. The alphabetically ordered collected presents are cleverly integrated into the double pages, each with a different color background. Each spread includes amusing details to study in the fantasy-like but clearly painted illustrations." —Children's Literature

"Part ghost story and part alphabet book, this trickster tale transcends both. Librarians will want to share it for the beautiful language, the spirited artwork, and the rightness of the ending." —School Library Journal

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781250188496
Publisher: Square Fish
Publication date: 09/11/2018
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 40
Sales rank: 258,259
Product dimensions: 8.40(w) x 10.30(h) x 0.20(d)
Age Range: 4 - 8 Years

About the Author

Yuyi Morales was born in Xalpa, Mexico in 1968. She spent the first twenty-five years of her life in Mexico before moving to the United States with her husband and son. In 1997 she created a weekly children's radio program for KP of San Francisco which ran for three years. At that time she began writing and illustrating her own children's stories, and touring all over the country. Her books have won her countless awards and honors (including the Pura Belpre Award. the Christopher Award, and the James Addams Award.) She is the author of Niño Wrestles the World, Rudas: Niño's Horrendous Hermanitas, Los Gatos Black on Halloween, Little Night/Nochecita, and Viva Frida.

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Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
dpiacun on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The art for this book is Latin American style, rich in colors and expression. This is a humorous book both in text and in the art work. You can see the grandmother expression as she treats death as a friend, but yet tricks him as if this happens every year. Another aspect that brings out the book is that Morales uses art to bring out the numbers for the counting part of the story.
kris0812 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This alphabet book uses pictures to help readers learn Spanish vocabulary. As Senor Calavera gets ready for Grandma Beetle¿s birthday party, Zelmiro the Ghost reminds him he cannot forget about a present. Senor Calavera finds gifts for each letter of the alphabet as Zelmiro the Ghost uses repetitive text to keep coaching him on his search for the best present. The colorful pictures showcase Senor Calvera¿s thinking and each gift so readers can learn Spanish words as they travel through the text and illustrations. Teaching ideas include: alphabet books for topics of interest, Spanish instruction, picture flashcards for new vocabulary, birthday themes, and gifts from the heart versus gifts purchased.
KatherineLo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
In the book we get to see Senor Calavera prepare to attend Grandma Beetle¿s birthday party. On his way to the party Mr. Zelmiro stops Senor Calavera and reminds him that he forgot a present for Grandma Beetle. They use the alphabet to find objects in Spanish to bring as a present. The illustrations add to the text by showing the object that we might not know what the Spanish word means. The illustrations have great color, lines and texture that add to make believe aspect of the story. The pictures also show us what Senor Calavera is feeling and thinking on his quest to find that perfect gift for grandma Beetle. The book is beautifully put together and I like books that add other languages that my children can be exposed to. In the classroom: Introduction to Spanish, storytelling
mmleynek on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Personal Response:I liked the pictures but I wasn't very impressed with the story. I'm still trying to figure out how Zelmiro the Ghost comes back to life.Curricular Connections:A good read aloud book.
paulaanweiler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book goes though every letter of the Spanish alphabet with a word for each letter. Senor Calavera tries to find the best present for Grandma Beetle.
Kcarline143 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book uses imagination to the extreme. It goes through the Spanish Alphabet to try and find the best present for his grandmother.
lnpowers on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I liked the incorporation of the Spanish alphabet and traditional Latino words and things while having a story to keep the book moving. The illustrations were done really well.This book could be used to introduce non-Spanish speakers to the Spanish alphabet. Then it could open up a chance to play una Loteria with the students as mentioned in the book.
limeminearia on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Señor Calavera is a jaunty skeleton on his way, by bike, to Grandma Beetle¿s birthday party when he is frightened by a moan from beyond the grave. But don¿t worry- it¿s just Zelmiro the Ghost who wants to make sure his skeleton friend brings Grandma Beetle the present she¿ll love the most. Through an alphabetical panoply of gifts Señor Calavera is led by Zelmiro. He gets Grandma Beetle ¿un Acordeón for her to dance to¿ Dientes, teeth for a good bite¿ un Jaguar, to keep her safe.¿ But Zelmiro keeps urging Señor Calavera to find more gifts and the hour is getting late. Through ¿Vainilla,¿ ¿una W to have two v¿s, for when one is not enough¿ and Yerbabuena, Señor Calavera endures Zelmiro¿s requests. But, worried about the hour, he speeds away and all the gifts break. In a surprise ending, it turns out all is not lost as Señor Calavera finally realizes what, or rather whom, Grandma Beetle, whose real name is Señora Zelmiro, would love the most as a birthday present. Just in Case is ¿a Trickster Tale¿ because it is part of a folkloric tradition of stories with a twist ending that teach an unexpected lesson. With great whimsy and a captivating artistic style, Morales introduces us not only to a great many Mexican objects and concepts, but to some of the themes that are central to so much Latino literature: the importance of family, a delight in celebrations and beauty, and a sense of fluidity between the realms of the living and the dead. In addition to being a neat example of how the bounds of the alphabet book genre can be stretched, Just in Case can be used in book talks or story times for grade school audiences, that emphasize the joys of bilingualism. The story¿s spooky but sweet message and aesthetic make it an easy sell for reader¿s advisory requests for ¿scary books¿ from very young children.This is also a great book to recommend to teachers looking for Day of the Dead materials with a narrative. All that aside, it¿s simply a high quality and original picture book that belongs in all library collections, either with the easy books or shelved for a slightly older audience. It is interesting to note how libraries play into Yuyi Morales¿ personal and artistic history. A 2009 article in Criticás Magazine tells her story: ¿Fourteen years ago, when she had just moved from Mexico as a new mother and did not know enough English to freely move around, Morales found refuge at her local public library¿She was so mesmerized by the children¿s collection that she decided to start making her own stories, writing, illustrating, and binding her own picture books for her young son.¿ As librarians serve our customers from day to day it¿s easy to forget that we may be providing a place of refuge, or inspiration. The more libraries provide inclusive, responsive service and diverse, rich collections the more likely we are to hear stories like this.References:Diego, Ximena. "A Library of Her Own¿How Yuyi Morales Found Her Way." Criticas 15 Feb 2008: Web. 7 Feb 2010.
misscopaneca on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I love Yuyi Morales' brightly colored and surreal illustrations, and I like the objects chosen for the abc's, but I didn't care for the storyline. Does Zelmiro the Ghost come back to life at the end? I wouldn't choose to share this book in my classroom, but I would like to explore other books with illustrations by Yuyi Morales.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
ShelbyCrum More than 1 year ago
Just in Case is a story about someone unable to decide what to get a loved one for his or her birthday. They only want the very best birthday present for their loved one. But in the end, they realize that it is not the present that matters to family members, it is the fact that you showed up and celebrated the day with them to show that you do love them and that they mean something to you. It is a book that everyone, no matter what age you are, should read and learn from the book.
Varousi More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed. Great for and ESL student.
ME53 More than 1 year ago
My students were excited to see a new book about Grandma Beetle. While searching for the perfect present for his friend, Senor Calavera finds items from A to Z in the Spanish alphabet. This is a friendly intro for Day of the Dead. It is vague enough that the younger students can enjoy it and the older students were able to figure out what Z would be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
La Calavera a famous character of La Loteria (a game like Bingo played by many Latin Americans) is also the main character of this book. On his way to grandma Beetle's birthday party he is approached by a ghost that reminds him to take a gift to grandma's birthday party. Everything he choses start with a letter of the Spanish alphabet, Undecided on what grandma would like best he decides to take everything. On his way all the gifts are ruined and he is left without a gift. Having brainstormed on what grandma would like best he decides to take her the best gift she could ever get.
daanielle More than 1 year ago
I don't speak a lick of spanish but when i read this book i felt like i was bilingual! This book has a creative way of introducing the alphabet in spanish by listing different items alphabetically. The illustrations in this book are full of vibrant colors such as oranges and pinks and is very aesthetically pleasing to the eye. This book has a great way of breaking down each alphabetic spanish word and even provides a picture of the object to go with it. This book is great for all children no matter whether they speak english or spanish.
SJKessel More than 1 year ago
Morales, Y. (2008). Just in Case: A trickster tale and Spanish alphabet book. New York: Roaring Brook Press. 1596433299 While on his way to Grandma Beetle's birthday party, a ghost informs Senor Calavera that he has forgotten her gift. What follows is a list of possible gifts listed alphabetically-by the Spanish alphabet, with each object being named in Spanish, but with illustrations and English descriptions. The illustrations are beautiful. With wonderful use of color, they share Hispanic images and symbols. (Plus, there's a blue butterfly for students to find on each page) All of the illustrations show great attention to detail and humor. (My favorite is at the beginning when Senor Calavera irons his tie while wearing it-totally something I would do.if I wore ties.) For kids from a Hispanic background, this book can be very empowering to see in a classroom, especially since this is also the book that won an ALA Belpre award this year. Activities to do with the book: Beyond helping young readers with the alphabet (in which case this book would need to be a read aloud by an adult as it is text-heavy), it can also be used with older students learning Spanish to provide some fun and new vocabulary words (among them cosquillas (tickles), granizado (snow cone), titere (puppet) etc.). This book could also be shared with children around birthdays and other gift giving occasions to help children think of ideas to give people of all ages. The story could also be tied into a talk on El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead-November 1st and 2nd). But if used for this purpose, don't present Just in Case as a book about the holiday. Rather, share it as an example of what talking about such a holiday could inspire students to write creatively. Favorite Quotes: "At last the day had arrived. It was Grandma Beetle's birthday!" "Oh , my. He had forgotten a present for Grandma Beetle!" "You surely must know, the best present to give a friend is the thing she would love the most. For more of my reviews, visit sjkessel.blogspot.com.