Saturday, February 23, 2008

Module 3 Traditional Literature: Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book

Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book
Morales, Yuyi. 2003. Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book. Illustrated by Yuyi Morales. San Francisco: Chronicle Books.

Death has to wait in this humorous tale by Yuyi Morales. Senor Calavera, which literally translates to Mr. Skeleton in Spanish, comes to take Grandma Beetle, who is not quite ready to go with him just yet. She has just a few more things to do such as sweep the floor, make some tortillas, set the table, all in preparation for her birthday party. Senor Calavera becomes more and more frustrated but eventually settles in and even begins helping Grandma Beetle with the preparations. When he finds that he is, in fact, the tenth invited guest, he gives in to his delight and decides not to take Grandma Beetle leaving her a note saying how much fun he had and that he wouldn’t miss her next birthday for anything in the world. In Grandma Beetle’s slow, methodical way, she has indeed tricked him into allowing her to live at least another year. The warm and colorful acrylic and mixed media illustrations give depth to the wise and cunning Grandma Beetle and depict Senor Calavera as silly and cartoonish, not to be feared. Morales has a gift for capturing the joy and expressions of love on the faces of the grandchildren and their grandmother. The text is repetitive and lends itself to reading aloud with opportunities for participation and includes counting words in English and Spanish. Readers will anticipate what Grandma Beetle will think of next to try to postpone leaving with her guest. Don’t miss the cat, appearing on every page, giving hope that Grandma Beetle, having escaped Death this time, may also have nine lives, perhaps?

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