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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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Just a Minute!: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book (Pura Belpre Medal Book Illustrator (Awards)) + Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book + The Dead Family Diaz
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Product Details

  • Series: Pura Belpre Medal Book Illustrator (Awards)
  • Hardcover: 36 pages
  • Publisher: Chronicle Books; Library Binding edition (September 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0811837580
  • ISBN-13: 978-0811837583
  • Product Dimensions: 9.1 x 0.4 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #446,403 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* PreS-Gr. 2. 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 [BKL Je 1 & 15 03], 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. The splendid paintings and spirited storytelling--along with useful math and multicultural elements--augur a long, full life for this original folktale. Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

Review

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

Winking and nodding as she goes, a Latino grandmother will charm readers as she charms Death Himself in this original counting-cum-trickster tale...Kirkus Reviews


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

4.6 out of 5 stars
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See all 27 customer reviews
Beautifully written and illustrated story.
Jan S. Wilson
Better still, for every English number pronounced there's a Spanish one for easy translation.
E. R. Bird
This book was a good read and it kept you wondering what Grandma Beetle had to do next.
Dani

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

13 of 16 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on June 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover
Yuyi Morales is having a great year. After creating a series of deft and meaningful illustrations for Kathleen Krull's heartfelt Cesar Chavez picture book, "Harvesting Hope", she wrote and illustrated a second 2003 Pura Belpre winner. "Just a Minute" is both a trickster tale and a basic counting story. Taking the dark conceit of outwitting death through meticulous partying, the story is a delightful dance with the macabre.

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.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on January 24, 2007
Format: Hardcover
It doesn't matter which language you speak, you'll enjoy this hilarious trickster tale. Grandma Beetle tricks and annoys the strange skeleton, Senor Calavera, by saying, "Just a minute!" over and over again. The skeleton, who never speaks, may have been there to take her life. Each time she delays Senor Calavera, something funny and interesting happens. The sly look in Grandma Beetle's eyes lets you know that she is tricking Senor Calavera. Recommended for people of all ages, but use carefully with young children who may be afraid of skeletons.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Dani on November 10, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I found this children's book to have a very grown up meaning dealing with death. Senor Calavara has come to take Grandma Beetle into the afterlife when he knocks on her door. However, Grandma Beetle has some tricks up her sleeves for Senor Calavara. Grandma Beetle is clever as she make Senor Calavara wait "just a minute" until she reaches all ten of her daily chores and is ready to go. The pictures show the chores Grandma Beetle had to do before she was ready to go and just how impatient Senor Calavara was getting with each chore. I enjoyed the bright colors used in the pictures throughout the book. I also liked seeing the numbers in English and in Spanish to show the children how the numbers go together in sequence. This book was a good read and it kept you wondering what Grandma Beetle had to do next.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By E. Rose on December 24, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I use this book for movement, we create a movement for each job that Grandma has to do. The students love it.
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Format: Hardcover
Attention teachers with students learning how to count and grandmothers with a need for a great book to read their grandchildren! Great book! Not only does it show great illustrations to help connect the book to pictures but it is also a multi-culture book that counts in Spanish AND English! The main character, the grandmother, tricking death by saying "Just a Minute" and counting in Spanish and English! This book is kid friendly as long as they don't have a fear of Skeletons... Other than that, AWESOME BOOK!
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By A. Johnston on July 21, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this book immensely! I bought it after reading the review that called it an "aberration." I found nothing about it abhorrent. It was beautifully illustrated and the story was fun to read. I liked the introduction of the spanish numbers. This story was a great way to introduce kids to a new language and culture (Grandma makes tortillas, fill pinatas and Senor Calavera's head is decorated like day of the dead skulls.) My young nieces loved it and thought Grandma Beetle was quite clever...
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By G rider on March 12, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Just a Minute is the wonderful first trickster tale of Senor Calavera trying to take the loving Grandma Beetle "away". Yuyi's vibrant, colorful art brings this story, even Senor Calavera the skeleton, to life. Told through a counting story, it is fun and playful and who says you can't have a little skeleton in your children's story!
A must read and don't forget to read its sequel, Just In Case!
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By E. C. Porter on March 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover
Yuyi Morales has created a brilliant children's book for Halloween, Day of the Dead or any time of the year. I never thought a skeleton could be cute and cuddly, but somehow Señor Calavera is, despite his bony nature. Kids will laugh and love his antics as he is outsmarted time and again by the clever Grandma Beetle, who looks to live forever. Highly recommended.
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