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Just a Minute!
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Just a Minute!

4.18  ·  Rating details ·  1,030 ratings  ·  246 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 32 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Chronicle Books
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4.18  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,030 ratings  ·  246 reviews

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Moral of this story: Don't go up against grandma.
The comeuppance for this little twit is going to be epic.
Because you just do. not. mess. with. grandma.

Grandmother Beetle is totally ready to go with Senor Calavera when he shows up on her doorstep, she just has to do this one thing. Then they can go. Well, after these two things. And so on.
It's a fun counting and building story but it's the bright, informative, emotive illustrations that really make the tale worth telling and seeing.
On a personal
Lisa Vegan
I loved this art style in Los Gatos Black on Halloween but I wasn’t sure I’d like these illustrations in a non-Halloween book. I did. A lot. I especially like the cat that appears on every page and the nine grandchildren who appear on several pages.

This is a fun trickster tale and it works really well as a bilingual English-Spanish counting book, with the story told in English and the counting of numbers 1 to 10 in both English and Spanish. I really enjoyed the humor in the book, as Grandma Beet
I loved this fun tale of trickery. The woman is sneaky as she wears out Señor Calavera. It would do well paired with Keeper of Soles as that also is a case of tricking death. I love Yuyi Morales' vibrant artwork and the playfulness of both the text especially the illustrations. I'm eager to share this book with my students. I know they will enjoy counting in Spanish as we read.
Westminster Library
Trickster tales are in virtually every oral history around the world and celebrated author Yuyi Morales brings one to the page in this book. It's Grandma Beetle's birthday and all her family are here to celebrate but there's one uninvited guest... Señor Calavera. Using counting words in Spanish, wonderful illustrations and facets of Mexican culture this trickster tale will be well received for a long time.

Find Just a Minute! at the Westminster Public Library!

Tessa Ann
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
On an old woman's birthday an unexpected visitor arrives. A skeleton, arrives and wants Grandma Beetle to go with him. To stall she starts to do chores around the house. Until her grandchildren arrive to the house they don't understand why the skeleton is there but they enjoy having him around. The skeleton then extends the grandmothers life and lets her continue on with her grandchildren. I would have to say that this book has a weird twist to it. I like the idea that you are expecting death to ...more
Cliff Bathke
Nov 30, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: book-summaries
1.Señor Calavera (death) 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 (death) changes his mind. the illustrations are beautiful in this book.
2. Grades K-3
3. I would pair this when teaching numbers and teach both English and Spanish counting to the kids.
4. Students who are struggling to learn to count would love this book.
5. In small groups I would have the students make a book
Apr 19, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Ameryn by: Pine River Library
Shelves: kids
Lucas (3.5) loves this one; he loves to locate the cat in each picture, as well as count all the items.
Great story and AWESOME illustrations. I LOVED LOVED LOVED the colors!
Elena S.
Jul 26, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Excellent counting book for ELL Students.
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I loved this story and the illustrations! I enjoyed the nice surprise ending too. I must read more by Morales. Highly recommended!
Mar 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: children-s-books
A very fun counting book where a cute grandma outwits senor calavera in order to prepare for and celebrate her birthday. Bright colors and playful perspectives give this book a joyful quality.
Apr 29, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: childrens
I love Yuyi Morales. The illustrations are incredibly nuanced and I love drinking in each beautiful page. Just A Minute is delightfully funny. (Bonus cute kitten on every page!)
Jul 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Beautiful illustrations!
Feb 28, 2013 rated it it was ok
hard to understand. i would not read to young children because there would need to he a lot of explaining as you read.
Michelle Burton
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
I love this book! Great to read for Hispanic Heritage Month or teaching about multicultural folktales.
Ro Menendez
Jan 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This trickster tale had me laughing and imagining my students wearing skeleton painted shirt made by themselves and acting out Señor Calavera's patience wearing thin. Grandma Beetle always agrees it's time to go with Señor Calavera, but right after one more task she needs to do. Readers will delight as Grandma Beetle even gets Señor Calavera working! Finding out why Grandma keeps postponing her leave, what she's preparing for and why, might leave readers a little misty eyed, but it will soon go ...more
Tessa Duncan
Nov 28, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: counting, spanish, death
When Senor Calavera (a symbol for death) comes for Grandma Beetle, she manages to outsmart him by making him wait just one minute more. Then she asks Calavera to wait until she makes to two cups of tea, then wait for her to make three tortilla and so on. Eventually Calavera helps Grandma set up her own birthday party and leaves once he realizes she has nine grandchildren. This story is a creative spin on counting books and includes the numbers in both English and Spanish.
Elizabeth Daly
Title: Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book
Author: Yuyi Morales
Illustrator: Yuyi Morales
Genre: Non-Europen Folktale
Theme(s): folklore, counting

Opening line/sentence: “When Grandma Beetle woke at dawn, she heard a knock at the door.”

Brief Book Summary: Grandma Beetle heard a knock on the door and was greeted by a surprising guest, Señor Calavera, a skeleton who wanted Grandma Beetle to come with him right away. Grandma Beetle agreed to come with him after she completed ten tasks, thi
Nov 27, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Genre: Children’s, Counting


A skeleton named Senor Calavera arrives at the door of Grandma Beetle, thinking her to be an easy target. Using her wits and clever thinking she manages to escape his invitation and solicit his help in completing the tasks for her birthday party. By delaying his departure, Grandma Beetle entertains Senor Calavera and so enchants him that he does not take her away and promises to return to enjoy future festivities.

Using a combination of English and Spanish numbe
Nov 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Diverse picture book (ages 4-5, counting).
* Book prominently features diverse characters: I love Yuyi Morales' dynamic illustrations of this Mexican trickster grandma and her family. Even the skeletal Senor Calavera looks very alive, and the inclusion of the spanish numbers (as well as the english) is also great.
* Appropriate for a preschool storytime (ages 3-5 years): Large, colorful illustrations and a funny, interactive counting story. I could definitely read this to preschoolers, provided th
Feb 07, 2011 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Vamos a Leer
May 06, 2015 rated it really liked it
Just A Minute!: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book, by Yuyi Morales can be used to introduce the issue of death to children in a light and playful way. It mixes multicultural literature with bilingual elements and math. Given that it also includes imagery related to Día de los Muertos and celebrates Mexican traditions, it’s a great addition to your classroom discussions about this holiday.

The story begins with Señor Calavera knocking on Grandma Beetle’s door, and telling her it is time for her t
Cornelius Library
Grandma Beetle is busy cleaning and cooking, when she gets a surprise visit from Señor Calavera. He insists they leave right away, but Grandma Beetle asks for "just a minute" as she counts the chores that she must complete before she can leave. In this book, there is a mixture of Spanish and English text, a wonderful opportunity to share a counting tale in Spanish and English as well as the rich and colorful illustrations by Yuyi Morales.
Jul 10, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: latino-a
As a high school teacher, I do not read my share of picture books, but I still can claim quite confidently that this will be one of the creepier children's picture books I will read in my lifetime. The book centers around Grandma Beetle being surprised by the arrival of Senor Calavera (Mr. Skull) at her door, most likely an allusion to the Dia De Los Muertes holiday, or Day of the Dead. While Senor Calavera, a grim reaper type figure, consistently summons her to what I assume is the great beyond ...more
Sara Hannon
1. Counting Book/Picture Book

2. In Just a Minute A Trickster Tale and Counting Book, a skeleton named Señor Calavera comes to collect Grandma Beetle. Grandma Beetle continuously delays her journey with Señor Calavera by saying "I only need to..." and adding tasks on. By the end, Señor Calavera is so distracted he gives up on collecting Grandma Beetle and goes away.

3. The strength of this story is the merger of Hispanic culture with counting. This is a fun little book that handles what seems lik
Christine Jensen
Approximate Interest Level/Reading Level: Early Elementary

Format: Picture Book

Awards: Pura Belpre Award (2004), ALA Notable Books for Children (2004), Americas Book Award for Children's & Young Adult Literature (2003), Golden Kite Honor (2003), Tomas Rivera Mexican American Children's Book Award (2003)

In this English/Spanish counting book, Señor Calavera, a skeleton, comes to Grandma Beetle’s house on her birthday with plans to take her away. Grandma Beetle stalls with her many preparations
Nov 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Title: Just a Minute:!A Trickster Tale and Counting Book

Genre: Counting Book

Summary: Senior Calavera comes to ask Grandma Beetle to come with him, but before she agrees she says "just a minitue" in order to complete a task, then another, and another, and another chore at her house until she is ready for a special event.

A. This critique focuses on the illustrations and how they refect the story's mood, theme, and character development.
B. Mr. Calavera is a skeleton, and although not identified in
Maggie Nieder
One morning, Senior Calavera (a skeleton) knocks on Grandma Beetle's door and tells her that it is time for her to go with him. Gradma Beetle keeps telling him that she will go with him "right away," but she must complete all her chores first. Counting in Spanish is included on each page, as Grandma Beetle has a specific number of things she must do before going with Senior Calavera. This book won the Pura Belpre Award.

The illustrations in this book are so colorful, and the portra
Feb 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: diversity
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Andrea Galbusieri
Oct 13, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2017
In this tale of trickery, Grandma Beetle is visited by Señor Calavera (a skeleton) who has come to take her away. Clever Grandma Beetle, however, finds one excuse after the other to prolong their leaving, from having to sweep the floor to cooking pots of food. Each of these chores, presented in English text, is accompanied by a number in Spanish, until finally Grandma Beetle’s nine grandchildren arrive for her birthday party, and she graciously invites Señor Calavera as the tenth guest. Señor Ca ...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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