Created by Laura Abbott

Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book by Yuyi Morales

Morales, Yuyi. Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book. Chronicle Books, 2003. 36 pages. Tr. $15.99. ISBN 978-0-8118-3758-3.

Annotation: A clever Grandma stalls Senor Calavera (Mr. Skull) from taking her away while she busily prepares for her own birthday party with her grandchildren. Part trickster tale/part counting book, readers will enjoy the glimpse into Mexican culture.

Summary: In this bilingual English-Spanish counting book, Grandma Beetle has an unwanted visitor, Senor Calavera (Mr. Skull), who wants to take her away permanently. Grandma cleverly stalls him by finding chore after chore to complete as she prepares for her own birthday party. Each task is linked to a number from one to ten. She politely asks Senor Calavera to wait just a minute during each chore. In the end, Grandma’s nine grandchildren join her at at the party and Senor Calavera is honored as a guest as well. Senor Calavera has such a good time that he leaves with a note explaining that he will be back in the future.

Evaluation: The textured acrylic and mixed-media illustrations create a warm and inviting palette as Grandma Beetle scurries about the house readying it for her birthday party celebration. The Spanish and English text is seamlessly written. Senor Calavera is not too scary as the skeleton. The vibrant illustrations show a glimpse of Mexican culture. Recommended for ages 4 to 9.

Genre / Subject: Juvenile Fiction, Counting, Folklore, Mexican Culture, Skeleton, Grandmothers, Family, Bilingual

Awards: 2004 Pura Belpre Award Winner – For Illustration, 2004 ALA Notable Books for Children, 2003 Golden Kite Honor Book – For Picture Book Illustration