Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book

( 7 )

Overview

THREE-TIME PURA BELPRÉ WINNER

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 ...

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Overview

THREE-TIME PURA BELPRÉ WINNER

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.

Just In Case is a 2009 Bank Street - Best Children's Book of the Year, the winner of the 2009 Pura Belpre Medal for Illustration and a Pura Belpre Honor Book for Narrative.

Latino Interest. In English with Spanish vocabulary.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“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
Children's Literature - Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
Senor Calavera, the traditional Mexican skeleton character, prepares eagerly for Grandma Beetle's birthday party. Bicycling on his way, he is abruptly stopped by Zelmiro the Ghost, who reminds him that he has forgotten a present. Since "the best present to give a friend is the thing she would love the most," Senor Calavera seeks out gifts he knows she will love. Cheered on by Zelmiro, he picks items in the Spanish alphabet all the way from A, "un Acordeon … for her to dance to," to Y, "Yerbabuena … to soothe her day." He then realizes that he may be late and miss the party. In his haste, he crashes and the presents are ruined, but he finally arrives with what Grandma Beetle loves most; he finishes the alphabet with Grandpa Zelmiro. Why Zelmiro is no longer a ghost does not seem important to the happy ending of this 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. The end pages display illustrated playing cards with additional Spanish vocabulary. Reviewer: Ken Marantz and Sylvia Marantz
School Library Journal

Gr 1-3

Señor Calavera, a dapper skeleton wearing a fedora and striped tie, receives an invitation to Grandma Beetle's birthday party. Zelmiro the Ghost reminds him that he needs to take a present and suggests that "the best present to give a friend is the thing she would love the most." The silent Señor Calavera collects gifts alphabetically, including an accordion (una acordeón ) to make music for her, a jaguar to protect her (un jaguar ), and 15 more years to add to her life (quince años ). As these thoughtful gifts fill his bicycle basket to overflowing, the shimmering ghost encourages him to keep looking. When the skeleton loses control of his bike on the very hill where Zelmiro was buried, all the beautiful gifts are ruined. Grandma Beetle is blowing out her candles when the Señor finally arrives with the perfect tribute-Grandpa Zelmiro, who is a ghost no longer. Luminous, jewel-tone spreads chronicle the collection of gifts and pay homage to a rich Mexican culture. A comic book (una historieta ) cleverly recalls Señor Calavera's first meeting with Grandma Beetle in Just a Minute (Chronicle, 2003). The floating, semitransparent form of Zelmiro the Ghost becomes the solidly human form of Grandpa Zelmiro, who lovingly embraces his wife. 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.-Mary Jean Smith, Southside Elementary School, Lebanon, TN

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781596433298
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press
  • Publication date: 10/14/2008
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 40
  • Sales rank: 491,533
  • Age range: 4 - 8 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.60 (w) x 10.60 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Born and raised in Mexico, YUYI MORALES has been a radio producer and children’s book creator since coming to the United States. Her books have won numerous awards and honors (including the Pura Belpré Award, the Christopher Award, and the James Addams Award). LITTLE NIGHT, a 2008 ALA Notable Children’s Book and the Spanish edition, NOCHECITA, were published by Roaring Brook in Spring 2007. Yuyi Morales lives in Northern California.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 7 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(2)

4 Star

(4)

3 Star

(1)

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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 20, 2012

    Just in Case is a story about someone unable to decide what to g

    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.

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  • Posted March 13, 2012

    Cute book

    I enjoyed. Great for and ESL student.

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  • Posted October 27, 2011

    A new Grandma Beetle book

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 23, 2011

    Perhaps? Maybe? Quizas? is a good book.

    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.

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  • Posted October 21, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    spanish made easy!!

    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.

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  • Posted April 5, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Just In Case

    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.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 14, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews

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