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Just a Minute!: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book (Pura Belpre Medal Book Illustrator (Awards)) Hardcover – September 1, 2003
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Winking and nodding as she goes, a Latino grandmother will charm readers as she charms Death Himself in this original counting-cum-trickster tale. When skeletal Senor Calavera appears at the door, Grandma Beetle bids him wait while she sweeps ONE house ('UNO'), makes TWO pots of tea ('DOS'), grinds THREE pounds of corn for tortillas ('TRES'), and so on, culminating in a festive birthday party at which Senor Calavera finds himself guest number TEN ('DIEZ'). As Grandma, round and brown, with sparkles in her eyes and gray hair both, bustles about, the expression on Senor Calavera's sugar-skull face grows more and more hilariously impatient -- but by party's end, he's departed, leaving a thank-you note promising to be back for Grandma Beetle's next birthday. Lit with dancing lines and warm colors, Morales' illustrations enhance the appeal of this winning story even further. - Kirkus Reviews, starred review
What's an old woman to do when a skeleton pays her a birthday visit and beckons her to "come along"? Grandma Beetle, the heroine of this joyful book by the illustrator of Harvesting Hope, stalls for time. "Just a minute," she says; there's something she needs to do. One chore leads to another, but the skeleton can't mask his enthusiasm as Grandma cooks, fills pinatas, and performs other tasks, each one linked to a number from 1 to 10, uno to diez. Eventually nueve grandchildren arrive for Grandma's birthday party, and guess who else is invited? Even if children don't grasp the implications of the skeleton's visit, they'll enjoy seeing him join the fun, and when he extends Grandma's lease on life, the relieved, loving embrace she gives her grandchildren will satisfy young ones at a gut level. Like the text, the rich, lively artwork draws strongly upon Mexican culture, with hints of Diego Rivera in Grandma's robust form, and the skeleton resembling the whimsical figurines often seen in Day of the Dead folk art. Along with their useful math and multicultural elements, the splendid art and spiritual storytelling auger a long, full life for this original folktale. - Booklist, starred review
More About the Author
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.
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."
Top Customer Reviews
It is Grandma Beetle's birthday, and a most unexpected guest is at the door. Standing as nice as you please is Senor Galavera. The handsome skeleton informs the older woman that it is just about time for her to go away with him. Grandma Beetle delays him, asking to have time to sweep her ONE house. Then she has TWO pots of tea to boil. Next, it's THREE pounds of corn to make into tortillas. As more and more time goes by the previously patient Senor Galavera becomes more and more impatient. Finally, it's party time and the finicky skeleton finds that he's had so much fun that he'll be sure to come back for Grandma Beetle's birthday at the same time next year.
Who can resist the idea of outwitting Death himself through a simple counting game? Better still, for every English number pronounced there's a Spanish one for easy translation. But as fine an author as Ms. Morales is, she's an even better illustrator. First of all, Senor Galavera is a fabulous site. Anyone familiar with a skeleton from the Day of the Dead will appreciate his appearance. Sporting a jaunty fedora and a delicately detailed body, he's really quite attractive. His mouth is a series of blue and orange alternating stripes. His eyes are the stars of the anise seed. Better yet, along his vertebrate, forearms, forehead, and kneecaps are tiny intricate details.Read more ›
Senor Calavera arrives at Grandma Beetle's house saying that it's time to go. In return, Grandma Beetle starts off by saying "Just a minute Senor Calavera, I just have one house to sweep." Next Grandma Beetle continues with her chores, increasing the number of things to do as you turn the page. As the book is increasing in the number of things to do around the house, you will notice that there are pictures with exactly however many items the text is pertaining to. The illustrations are so bright and vibrant; very colorful as well. At the end of the book Grandma Beetle is finally finished with her chores as it's now time for her birthday party. Senor Calavaras was to make guest number ten at the dinner table, yet he has disappeared. He therefore has left a letter saying that he had a blast at the party with Grandma Beetle, and that he will be back next year.
I'm not normally very impressed with counting books or multi-language books, as it can be hard to teach something and maintain a good story. Morales has sought to teach two separate things in this book--counting and a little bit of Spanish--and has done so with commendable skill. Story quality has not been sacrificed in any way, leaving readers with an educational book which is also entertaining.
The artwork is interesting, with the humans given very round, almost cartoonish faces, but alongside very detailed eyes. Not so much as to be unsettling, but enough to create a definite unique style. There's also a definite stylistic influence from Mexican culture in the artwork.
A must for public libraries, but give it a check out from there before buying for a private home. They'll only need to learn to count to ten for so long, so might as well go for more long-term books.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A wonderful book for teaching Spanish and English and a wonderful cultural tale. Who doesn't love a trickster?Published 6 months ago by Susan Mumpower-Spriggs
The author has done a phenomenal job with this funny trickster tale and also with the colorful bright illustrations. Read morePublished 11 months ago by Geowonderland
This is one of my 6 yr old grandson's favorite books, and mine too.Published 13 months ago by Gal-on-the-run
Grandma Beetle's day got ruined by Senor Calavera (apparently he is Death) who showed up and said it was time to go. But Grandma tells Senor Calavera "Just one Minute".. Read morePublished on May 19, 2013 by David Rooster Rodriguez