Hornbook Guide to Children (01/01/2004):
When Senor Calevera (a skeleton representing Death) comes calling on Grandma Beetle, she forestalls him by performing a series of tasks that result in her own birthday party. Senor Calevera has so much fun that he decides to return for Grandma Beetle another day. The rhythmic text incorporates Spanish and English numbers up to ten, and the textured acrylic and mixed-media illustrations show a not-too-scary Senor Calevera. (Copyright 2004 by The Horn Book, Incorporated, Boston. All rights reserved.)
PreS-Gr. 2. What's an old woman to do when a skeleton pays her a birthday visit and beckons her to "come along"? Grandma Beetle, the heroine of this joyful book by the illustrator of " Harvesting Hope" [BKL Je 1 & 15 03], stalls for time. "Just a minute," she says; there's something she needs to do. One chore leads to another, but the skeleton can't mask his enthusiasm as Grandma cooks, fills pinatas, and performs other tasks, each one linked to a number from 1 to 10, " uno" to " diez." Eventually " nueve" grandchildren arrive for Grandma's birthday party, and guess who else is invited? Even if children don't grasp the implications of the skeleton's visit, they'll enjoy seeing him join the fun, and when he extends Grandma's lease on life, the relieved, loving embrace she gives her grandchildren will satisfy young ones at a gut level. Like the text, the rich, lively artwork draws strongly upon Mexican culture, with hints of Diego Rivera in Grandma's robust form, and the skeleton resembling the whimsical figurines often seen in Day of the Dead folk art. The splendid paintings and spirited storytelling--along with useful math and multicultural elements--augur a long, full life for this original folktale.(Reprinted with permission of Booklist, copyright 2003, American Library Association.)
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 Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
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.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Winking and nodding as she goes, a Latino grandmother will charm readers as she charms Death Himself in this original counting-cum-trickster tale...Kirkus Reviews
In this version of a traditional tale, Senor Calavera arrives at Grandma Beetle's door, ready to take her to the next life, but after helping her count, in English and Spanish, as she makes her birthday preparations, he changes his mind.
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.
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 and her 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.
Kirkus Review - Children 10/15/2003 pg. 1274 (EAN 9780811837583, Hardcover) - *Starred Review
Publishers Weekly 12/01/2003 pg. 55 (EAN 9780811837583, Hardcover)
Booklist 12/01/2003 pg. 668 (EAN 9780811837583, Hardcover) - *Starred Review
School Library Journal 12/01/2003 pg. 136 (EAN 9780811837583, Hardcover)
ALA Notable Childrens Books 03/15/2004 pg. 1286 (EAN 9780811837583, Hardcover)
Hornbook Guide to Children 07/01/2003 pg. 136 (EAN 9780811837583, Hardcover)
Hornbook Guide to Children 01/01/2004 pg. 136 (EAN 9780811837583, Hardcover)
Wilson Children's Catalog 01/01/2006 pg. 143 (EAN 9780811837583, Hardcover)
Criticas 02/15/2008 pg. 1 (EAN 9780811837583, Hardcover)
Wilson Children's Catalog 01/01/2010 pg. 193 (EAN 9780811837583, Hardcover)
Contributor Bio: Morales, Yuyi
YUYI MORALES is a promising new picture book illustrator. A native of Mexico, she now lives in San Francisco where she is pursuing a degree in creative writing and developing her career as an artist. She is also a puppet-maker and the host of a Spanish-language storytelling radio show.