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Just In Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book: 12/19/11

cover art

Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book by Yuyi Morales at the library, it was on display for El Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). My son likes spirit, monster and trickster stories. It seemed like a perfect fit. So that was my first read through it.

My second read was for the Materials for Children Ages 5 to 8 class I took Spring Semester. I needed a multicultural, award winner. Just in Case won the Governor General’s Literary Awards, Children’s Literature - Illustration as well as the Belpre Author Honor and Pura Belpre Illustrator Award.

Sr. Calavera is so excited about Grandma Beetle's birthday party he forgets to get her a gift until Zelmiro the Ghost reminds him. Sr. Calavera puts together a nearly complete list of gifts from the Spanish alphabet. Disaster strikes, though, when he crashes his bike and all the gifts are scattered and broken. What will he do now?

The story teaches most of the Spanish alphabet (including CH, LL, and Ñ but not RR) and elements of Mexican-American culture both through the colorful illustrations and through the choices of gifts. The story wraps together the themes of life, death, birthdays and families into this magical realism picture book.

Three stars.

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