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Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book Hardcover – October 14, 2008


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Frequently Bought Together

Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book + Just a Minute!: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book (Pura Belpre Medal Book Illustrator (Awards)) + Niño Wrestles the World (Golden Kite Honors)
Price for all three: $39.36

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 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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From Booklist

The title page includes an invitation to Grandma Beetle’s birthday party, and Señor Calavera can’t wait to go. A moan from beyond the grave reminds the not-too-scary dapper skeleton that he’s forgetting a present. Zelmiro the ghost admonishes Calavera to choose something that Grandma Beetle will love the most. What follows is an alphabetic array, from “Un acordeon, An accordion for her to dance to,” to “yerba buena. Good herb to soothe her day.” With each gift Calavera chooses, Zelmiro praises the skeleton’s choices but cautions him to keep searching “just in case . . .” 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. Grades K-3. --Patricia Austin
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 4 - 8 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 3
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Roaring Brook Press; First Edition edition (October 14, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1596433299
  • ISBN-13: 978-1596433298
  • Product Dimensions: 8.9 x 0.4 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #531,894 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Born in Mexico and raised among giant grandmothers, mossy house walls, and rampaging feral gardens, Yuyi Morales fostered a strong bond with the magical stories that ran in her family. Since having immigrated to the USA in 1994, she has drawn from her family's legacy and her heritage to create some of the most celebrated Latino works for children's books.

Yuyi is the 2004 winner of the Pura Belpre Medal for Illustration for her book Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book as well as the 2008 winner for Los Gatos Black on Halloween (written by Marissa Montes), given to a Latino illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience in an outstanding work of literature for children and youth.
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Her book Harvesting Hope; The story of Cesar Chavez (written by Kathell Krull), was the recipient of the Christopher Award and the Jane Adams Award, and was deemed one of the best books of 2003 by Child Magazine, San Francisco Chronicle, and School Library Journal.

Yuyi is also the creator of ALA notable book, Little Night, co-released in Spanish as Nochecita, and winner of the 2008 SCBWI Golden Kite Medal.
Some of other recognitions her work has received include the Americas Award, the California book Award, and the Tomas Rivera Award won in 2004 and 2008.

Asked about her work Yuyi says, "I strive to capture the incredible beauty of the every day forms using textures and colors as another way to reveal the heart of the story. I also pursue glow and luminosity with resolve. If I could ask for a talent, it would be to become a color genius."

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By E. C. Porter on March 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Another perfect picture book from Yuyi Morales. This book is a sequel to her clever and funny "Just a Minute" but Morales' mastery has grown in the intervening years since she published that book. The vibrant colors in JIC practically leap off the page. Sr. Calavera is still there, apparently no longer wishing to "take Grandma Beetle" he is now invited to her birthday. And he's as gullible as ever, letting Zelmiro the ghost guide him into bringing her the perfect gift. A fabulous, fun ending kids will enjoy. Buy this book now!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Bibliophile on July 1, 2010
Format: Hardcover
While the illustrations and the flow of the book are great it is not a traditional alphabet book they way one is used to. It is an English book that provides just the words of the alphabet in Spanish. While the story has a point, it is not overpowering at all: It's not what or how much you bring to the party, but that you come at all". Some of the alphabet words chosen are not words that will be used by children learning their ABC's in either language. It is definitely not an "I can read it all by myself" kind of book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By G rider on March 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
When I look at the artwork of Yuyi Morales I say, "How does she DO it?!" She brings such magic, movement and color to each page in such a fresh and unique way. She weaves this wonderful love story (following Just a Minute) through the alphabet. The kindly ghost of Zelmiro tricks Senor Calavera into doing just that right thing.
Magic, amazing and wonderful. How could you not LOVE this story!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Sarah Akers on September 13, 2009
Format: Hardcover
This book is a wonderful book with endearing characters who teach the Spanish alphabet in a fun and interesting way! The vivid illustrations will engage any young reader. The book is a great way to incorporate the Spanish alphabet and vocabulary into the elementary classroom!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Elaybee on May 15, 2011
Format: Hardcover
Just In Case by Yuyi Morales is probably the best children's alphabet picture book I have ever read! The illustrations are truly sensational with Morales's use o f vibrant colors and personal twist of Mexican skull art. When I finished the book, I went back through it again just to admire the art one more time. This book is a Spanish alphabet book and is perfect for a bilingual classroom (as well as a monolingual one). A skeleton named Senor Calavera is on his way to a woman named Grandma Beetle's birthday party when a ghost named Zelmiro stops him and asks if Calavera is forgetting something. Calavera then remembers that he forgot to get a present for Grandma Beetle. Calavera then proceeds to get Grandma Beetle one item for every letter of the alphabet. The book goes takes the reader through all of the creative items in Spanish, with English translations underneath. Although the alphabet part of the book is told in Spanish, the rest of the story is told in English. After Calavera has finally gotten all of the gifts he wants to get for Grandma Beetle, he realizes that it took him so much time that he might miss the whole party so he begins to rush to her house on his bike. Calavera then has an accident and all the presents go flying, ruined! Yuyi Morales does an incredible job creating an alphabet story that is much more than just that. This story provides children with a moral lesson on materialism and gift giving without being up front or preachy. It is a lesson children can learn subconsciously and enjoyably through this easy read. To find out what Calavera does to fix the ruined presents, you will have to read for yourself!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Candace Lee on September 29, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Just in case is an exceptional Spanish Alphabet book. I really enjoyed reading this book; it has very bright colors and excellent illustrations! I can imagine reading this book to a classroom and I believe that children would really enjoy listening to this book. Although, there is one thing that I wish this book had, and that is a pronunciation section for the Spanish words. I don't speak fluent Spanish and some of the words in this book I was a little unsure how to say correctly so I think that the book should have had a section where they had all the pronunciation for the Spanish words. This book is very beneficial for children though, not only because it's a Spanish alphabet but also because after every Spanish word they give the definition of it in English, and a picture of the object. This really helps children relate the certain word to the correct meaning. I think this is a great way to bring Spanish into the classroom and for children to have fun and enjoy a good book!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Ali Lee on November 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Just In Case

Written and Illustrated By: Yuyi Morales

Pura Belpre Award - Picture Book

Great asset to any early childhood classroom! Just In Case is a unique book that incorporates learning the ABC's from the Spanish speaking cultures point of view. The illustrations are creative and fun and it promotes learning the alphabet in a fun and festive way. It's a great way to incorporate Spanish words into the classroom as well as the home. It may be hard for some young readers to read on their own as it is a little wordy. A great read aloud!

Morales, Y (2008). Just In Case. New York: Roaring Book Press.
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Format: Hardcover
Just in Case
By: Yuyi Morales

Characters are Senor Calavera,Grandma Beetle, Zelmiro the Ghost, Grandpa Zelmiro.The setting took place in Grandma Beetle’s Birthday party.The plot of Just In case is he buys all these things for Grandma Beetle and a disaster strikes.The book was very good in my opinion because it had very good illustrations.The illustrations were very colorful with dark and pretty colors and it show the mood of the story by the illustrations and had very cool characters.My favorite character was Senor calavera because he was the main character and he had good color to him.I believe there is nothing I do not like in this book.The Book also had a very good morale to the story. I believe that it would be a very good book for kids and young adults because it would help them in the future for buying their families gifts.I also believe that a lot of people would be interested in this book because of the book show how we naturally act when going to a birthday party. It also had a very fun,interesting and good adventure which made the book very awesome.
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Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book
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