Reviews of children's and young adult books old and new

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Just in Case

Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book by Yuyi Morales

Senor Calavera has a birthday party for Grandma Beetle to attend, and he needs to find the present she "would love the most." With help from Zelmiro the ghost, Senor Calavera finds a present for every letter of the Spanish alphabet. After every few presents Zelmiro asks Senor Calavera to check and see if he has anything else to give "just in case" it is not what Grandma Beetle would love most. On his way to the party Senor Calavera falls off his bike and all the presents are ruined. What can Senor Calavera bring to the party? He decides to bring Grandpa Zelmiro because that is what Grandma Beetle loves most.

At first I was very skeptical of this book. A skeleton, who lives with the dead, attending a birthday party seems to me to be an ominous setting for a book. However, as the book continues it is a nice story about trying to find a meaningful present for a friend's birthday. The Spanish words do not have a pronunciation guide, so if you are like me and do not speak Spanish, you could have a bit of trouble saying the works correctly when reading aloud. The illustrations are very colorful, with each page being devoted to one color in a variety of shades. The images have a distinct look to them they are very interesting to look at and study. The author/illustrator has won numerous awards for bother her writing and illustrations, you will not be disappointed with the quality of art in this book. I think this is a good read aloud to be tried during the day at first as every child reacts differently to ghosts and skeletons. A fun way to introduce the Spanish alphabet to young children.

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