Just in Case
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Just in Case

3.87 of 5 stars 3.87  ·  rating details  ·  322 ratings  ·  111 reviews

Yuyi Morales takes us on a new journey with Señor Calvera, the skeleton from Day of the Dead celebrations. Señor Calvera is worried. He can’t figure out what to give Grandma Beetle for her birthday. Misunderstanding the advice of Zelmiro the Ghost, Señor Calvera decides not to get her one gift, but instead one gift for every letter of the alpha...more
Hardcover, 40 pages
Published October 14th 2008 by Roaring Brook Press
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Lisa Vegan
I just read Just a Minute!: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book by the same author/illustrator. This is a sequel of sorts to that book.

This is an alphabet book with A through Z highlighted, but the story is what’s most important in this book. The A through Z are done with Spanish words; the rest of the story is told in English.

It’s Grandmother Beetle’s birthday. Again. Señor Calavera wants to bring her gifts that she will love, and he gathers them to bring, each gift starting with an A through Z....more
I really enjoyed reading this book! This is a cute story about a skeleton, Senor Calavera, that is going to Grandma Beetle's birthday party. On his way, the ghost of Zelmiro stops him to remind him to bring a present for Grandma.The skeleton goes through every letter of the alphabet while finding presents to bring for her. The ghost of Zelmiro keeps having the skeleton find more presents "just in case". On the way to the party, the skeleton, who was riding a bike, zoomed down a hill, fell, and l...more
Guanlan Xu
Age 4 and up

This book is good for kids who want to learn Spanish alphabet with fun. Each Spanish word has its English explanation which makes learning much easier. Although the main character Señor Calvera is the death, his image is positive. As Señor Calvera thinks about the gifts, he became more caring about grandma’s happiness not just want to give a meaningless gift. At last, he brought grandpa to the birthday party. This book teaches kids more than alphabet but the love among our family. It...more
It is almost time for the Grandma Beetle’s birthday party and Señor Calavera is nearly ready to go, tie ironed, bike maintenance… Then Señor Zelmiro appears suggesting Señor Calavera should bring a gift. He has time. Unsure of what would make Grandma Beetle most happy to receive on her special day, Señor Calavera will choose gifts of every letter of the alphabet.

As he collects gifts alphabetically— Una Acordéon: An accordion for her to dance to. Bigotes: A mustache because she has none. Cosquill...more
Just In Case, by Yuyi Morales is a story about a skeleton, Senor Calavera, who is going to Grandma Beetle's birthday party. On the way, the ghost of Zelmiro appears and reminds him to bring a present. Senor Calavera goes through every letter of the alphabet acquiring presents to bring to the party. The ghost of Zelmiro advises the skeleton to find more presents "just in case" they are not what Grandma Beetle will love. Along the way, a bit of a catastrophe occurs. Morales presents the English al...more
Heather Edrington
This is a Spanish Alphabet book that would be a great aide for English Language Learners.
(NS) Mary
2009 Pura Belpré Illustrator Award Winner
Grades 1-4

This is beautifully written and illustrated story of Señor Calavera (skeleton), who is on his way to Grandma Beetle's birthday party and gets stopped by Zelmiro the Ghost. I think some children might be confused by the skeleton and the ghost and the way the face of the skeleton is painted, unless you are familiar with Mexican culture. Then, the story goes on to go through the Spanish alphabet, naming things that Señor Calavera could gift to Gran...more
Lexile: N/A but appropriate for ages 4-8
Age level: Primary
Genre: Traditional, multicultural

Main characters: Senor Calavera, Grandma Beetle, Zelmiro the Ghost
Setting: Somewhere that seems like the south west

Just In Case is a whimsical picturebook written in modern folklore. The main character, a skeleton named Senor Calavera, is preparing for his best friend, Grandma Beetle's birthday party. He diligently pumps air into his bicycle tire and irons his favorite tie, making sure that he looks snazz...more
Why this book? This book draws from cultural folklore surrounding the Day of the Dead celebration, a common holiday in Latin cultures. This book will add to the library section that has books with both English and Spanish language and will also add relevant cultural influence to the books that celebrate holidays and seasons.

Genre: Picture Books

Theme/Keywords: Day of the Dead, folklore, Spanish ABC

Characteristics of quality: Students will be drawn in by the colorful illustrations and engaging ta...more
Title: Just In Case, A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book

Genre: Children's Spanish alphabet book

Summary: Senor Calavera is one his way to Grandma Beetle's birthday party when he is told by the ghost Zelmiro that he has forgotten to get a loved gift for Grandma Beetle. On the journey to the party, Senor Calavera tries to find a series of gifts from A-Z that Grandma Beetle would love the most.

A. This critique focuses on the beautiful illustrations used in this story to show the story's setti...more
Rosa Huerta
Señor Calavera is attending, his dear friend, Grandma Beetle’s birthday party. On his way to the fiesta, Zelmiro the Ghost stops him to ask him if he has forgotten anything. Shocked that he has forgotten to get a present for Grandma Beetle, Señor Calavera is determined to find the perfect gift. Zelmiro the Ghost tries to help him by reminding Señor Calavera that the best gift is the thing she would love the most. Señor Calavera finds many breathtaking presents for Grandma Beetle, finding a prese...more
Matt Smith
Literature for a Diverse Society (Latino)
This was my pick for my Latino book for my Diverse Society choice. I thought this was a fun book that was funny, informative, and heart-warming. The book was about a skeleton man who was going to a birthday party for one of his old friends. A ghost appeared to him (who happened to be the old lady's dead husband). He helped the skeleton man colect many things for the old lady that she would like. All the gifts were written in Spanish, then had an explanati...more
Christina Mathers
This book was written and illustrated by Yuyi Morales in 2008. It is a story about Señor Calavera finding a present for Grandma Beetle’s birthday. He had such a blast at last year’s birthday party, that he wouldn’t miss it for anything this year. On his way to the party Zelmiro the Ghost reminded him that he forgot the present. As Señor Calavera goes looking for the present, he goes through the alphabet with Spanish names for his presents. He then tells you what the English name is. For example...more
Stephanie Koerner
Grade/interest level: 2nd-4th grade
Reading level: 540L
Genre: multicultural

Main characters: Senor Calavera, Zelmiro, and Grandma Beetle
Setting: The path between Senor Calavera's home and Grandma Beetle's home
POV: Narrator

In this book, Senor Calavera is going to visit his good friend Grandma Beetle for her birthday party. On the way, the ghost of Zelmiro stops Senor Calavera to remind him that he is forgetting to bring a present for Grandma Beetle. Senor Calavera sees he has plenty of time...more
Morales, Y. (2008). Just in Case: A trickster tale and Spanish alphabet book. New York: Roaring Brook Press.


While on his way to Grandma Beetle’s birthday party, a ghost informs Senor Calavera that he has forgotten her gift. What follows is a list of possible gifts listed alphabetically—by the Spanish alphabet, with each object being named in Spanish, but with illustrations and English descriptions.

The illustrations are beautiful. With wonderful use of color, they share Hispanic images...more
Tessa Ann
I would have to say that I loved this book so much! Señor Calvera a day of the dead skeleton is looking for the perfect birthday present to give to his grandma Beetle. He goes through the entire alphabet to get her the perfect present only to find out that the best one is being able to see all of her friends. He uses spanish and english words for each item. I learned a great amount of spanish words from this childrens' novel. I think that this is a perfect book for children of all ages. It not o...more
Winner of the Belpre Author Honor and Pura Belpre Illustrator Award, Just In Case is filled with beautiful illustrations of colorful, bright pictures. The main character is a skeleton, Senor Calavera who is on his way to Grandma Beetle's birthday party. Then a noise from the from the grave, reminds the skeleton that he is forgetting a present to bring to the party. The noise is the ghost of Grandma beetles late husband, Grandpa Zelmiro. Using the Spanish alphabet he shows the skeleton all of the...more
Just in Case is a sweet alphabet book that uses Spanish and Latin American culture to move through the alphabet. The story opens with Señor Calavera, a skeleton, leaving for Grandma Beetle’s birthday party. He is already running late when Zelmiro the Ghost pops up to remind him that he still needs to get Grandma Beetle a present. Zelmiro helps Señor Calavera pick out gifts from A to Y and then sends him on his way. Zelmiro, being a trickster, knows all along that Señor Calavera will not be able...more
Marissa Kohlrenken
Senor Calavera is always welcome at my Birthday party!!

This fun and whimsical book has incredible illustrations, possibly my favorite images ever in a children’s book! I love the bright colors and attention to detail. Yuyi Morales selected eye-catching, warm, rainbow tones to use throughout this delightful story. There is a beautiful, glowing, blue and black Monarch butterfly on every page, sometimes obvious and sometimes less apparent, but it is always there. The text and illustrations perfect...more
Alissa Anderson
Audience: This book would be great for students in 1st - 3rd grade.

Appeal: This book has wonderful illustrations that are colorful and very fun. The students will love the main character who is a skeleton and all of his different gifts he collects.

Application: This book is a Spanish alphabet book, so I would probably use it to incorporate Spanish vocabulary in with my other vocabulary lessons. If I were just to read this book, I would read it to the class aloud and then have the students do an...more
Nov 14, 2012 Callie added it
Grade/interest level: Primary/Upper Elem. (approx. 1st-4th)
Reading level: 540L
Genre: Multicultural/Picture book

Main characters: Senor Calavera, Zelmiro, and Grandma Beetle
Setting: The path between Senor Calavera's home and Grandma Beetle's home
POV: Narrator

Just In Case in a Spanish alphabet book in which the main character, Senor Calvera the skeleton, is trying to find a present for his good friend Grandma Beetle. Senor Calvera finds a present for each letter of the alphabet. After he co...more
Sarah Sammis
The first time I saw 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 Literatu...more
I loved is companion book to Just a Minute. This one is more focused on Señor Calaveras and the Zelmira the ghost, again their is trickery involved, but this time, instead of counting, we get the alphabet. Yuyi's illustrations are colorful and include many bright colors and cultural items. I especially liked trying to keep track of the blue butterfly that graces the pages. I find Yuyi's books very fun, entertaining and full of life even in the presence of death.
Sam Grace
This book followed the very successful Just A Minute and follows the same premise. The story is in English, the alphabet is the Spanish alphabet (complete with the letter "ch") and the words are Spanish words, all chosen as presents for Grandma Beetle, who you will remember from the first book. I have a feeling that Just A Minute is a lot better than this, though of course the art is class Yuyi Morales and thus beautiful. In this one the shallow plot sort of weirdly conflicted with the alphabet...more
Just in Case is a fun book that uses Spanish words to teach the ABC's. Some students may already know what the words mean, however if Spanish is new to them there is a little sentence to explain the meaning beneath each word. This gives the slightly older reader the opportunity to practice reading for information, while allowing younger readers to enjoy story time with an adult and using visual clues to guess possible meanings. The illustrations are bright and reminiscent of The Day of the Dead...more
Señor Calavera thinks he’s ready to attend Grandma Beetle’s birthday party, but Zelmiro the Ghost reminds him that he must bring her a present. Señor Calavera thus takes readers through the alphabet, including characters not present in the English alphabet, securing gifts for his dear friend. Filling his bicycle to the brim with a host of gifts, Señor Calavera soon discovers the gift that matters most to Grandma Beetle. Beautifully illustrated and exposing readers to a plethora of challenging Sp...more
April Helms
Both a story and a Spanish alphabet book. Great for young children learning both languages (youngsters NOT studying Spanish might get confused, since Spanish has additional letters ("ch" for example, is considered a seperate letter). Senor Calavera realizes it's his good friend Grandma Beetle's birthday-- and has to try to find just the right gift (by going through the alphabet). But when disaster strikes on the way to the party, Calavera and his friend, the ghost Zelmiro must find a solution. W...more
Chelsea Kimmey
This text is a great way to continue a Spanish lesson by talking about the words in the book and the Spanish culture. While also talking about the best gift is family. The illustrations give the book extra tools by aiding the what the Spanish word means.
Senor Calavera (Mister Skeleton) has put on cologne, dusted his hat, ironed his best tie, and pumped the tires of his bike. He's ready for Grandma Beetle's birthday party! But Zelmiro the Ghost suggests he may have forgotten something, so Sr. Calavera searches for an appropriate gift for Grandma Beetle, beginning with Acordeon (accordion) and Bigotes ("a mustache because she had none") and making it to Yerbabuena (mint) before something surprising happens...

The alphabet and the gifts are Mexican...more
I did not like this book. The illustrations were interesting, but added to the overload of information on every page. There were so many words on each page. I can't tell what age or situation this book would be appropriate for. The plot involves bringing a gift to a birthday party, but there is so much discussion of the plot that the alphabet can't stand out. The letters and spanish words are written in the same font size. There isn't much focus on them at all. The page layout is all over the pl...more
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Yuyi Morales is the illustrator of Kathleen Krull’s Harvesting Hope: The Story of Cesar Chavez, whose accolades include a Pura Belpré Award and a Christopher Medal, as well as the Pura Belpré Award-winning Los Gatos Black on Halloween by Marisa Montes. Born and raised in Mexico, she now lives in northern California.
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