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Just a minute : a trickster tale and counting book
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Author Notes
Yuyi Morales is an artist, a Brazilian folk dancer, a puppet maker and the former host of a Spanish-language storytelling radio show for children. She grew up in Mexico and now lives with her husband, son and cat in Northern California.
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  Publishers Weekly Review

When Senor Calavera, a dapper skeleton in a bowler hat, comes to call on Grandma Beetle, she puts him off with her quick thinking and her charming manner. "I will go with you right away," the pokerfaced, pleasingly plump woman promises. "I have just one house to sweep." After waiting patiently, Senor Calavera counts, "UNO One swept house," and assumes they will exit in short order. But the wily matriarch has a houseful of bilingually enumerated items with which to stall him (three stacks of tortillas to make, seven pi?atas, etc.) and soon recruits the bony fellow to help. And with good reason: her nine (nueve) grandchildren are coming over to celebrate her birthday. Finally, having kissed all her grandchildren goodbye, Grandma announces that she's ready to go-but Senor Calavera has had such a good time as the party's 10th guest that he has already exited, leaving only a note that he'll be back for her party next year. Like the best folktales, the darker motivation for the skeleton's visit remains elusive for youngest readers, and the sly interplay between hostess and visitor makes light of his role. Morales (Harvesting Hope) whips up a visually striking book, and funny to boot. Her deep, glowing pastels and stylized human characterizations beautifully conjure the traditions of Latin American muralists, while Senor Calavera's ghoulish, goofy gallantry would make him the comic lead of any Day of the Dead festivity. Ages 4-8. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

  School Library Journal Review

Gr 1-4-Vibrant contrasting colors and bold geometric shapes infuse this original trickster tale set in Mexico. Death comes to Grandma Beetle's door in the skeletal form of Se?or Calavera (Mr. Skull). "Just a minute," she sweetly explains. "I have just one house to sweep." So Se?or Calavera patiently takes a chair and waits, counting off Grandma Beetle's completed tasks in English and Spanish as one chore invariably leads to another. In the end, all of the hard work turns out to be preparation for her birthday party attended by her nine beautiful grandchildren, and Se?or Calavera is happily surprised to be counted among the guests. After the celebration, Grandma Beetle is finally ready to join him, but death has departed without her, leaving a note saying that he looks forward to her next year's gathering and a twinkle in Grandma Beetle's eye. This story is a delight. Morales's personification of death is never forbidding or scary, but rather a simple matter of fact. This deceptively simple read-aloud treat has as many layers as an onion, and is every bit as savory.-Catherine Threadgill, Charleston County Public Library, SC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
In this original trickster tale, Senor Calavera arrives unexpectedly at Grandma Beetle's door. He requests that she leave with him right away. "Just a minute," Grandma Beetle tells him. She still has one house to sweep, two pots of tea to boil, three pounds of corn to make into tortillas -- and that's just the start! Using both Spanish and English words to tally the party preparations, Grandma Beetle cleverly delays her trip and spends her birthday with a table full of grandchildren andher surprise guest. This spirited tribute to the rich traditions of Mexican culture is the perfect introduction to counting in both English and Spanish. The vivacious illustrations and universal depiction of a family celebration are sure to be adored by young readers everywhere.
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