Just in Case. A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book by Yuyi Morales
Illustrated by Yuyi Morales
Published by Roaring Brook Press
Señor Calavera couldn't wait to get to Grandma Beetle's birthday party. He had ironed his tie, put on cologne, dusted his hat (which now sits on top of his cover of A Hundred Years of Solitude -a hint of the magic to come), and prepped his bike. On his way there, he heard "a moan from beyond the grave." It was Zelmiro the Ghost, a friendly looking ghost of an old man. Zelmiro reminded Señor Calavera that he needed to bring Grandma Beetle a gift. "You surely must know, the best present to give a friend is the thing she would love the most." So Señor Calavera packs up un Acordeón (an accordion), Bigotes (a mustache), Cosquillas (tickles), and un CHiflido (a whistle). Zelmiro celebrated Señor Calavera's choices but he wondered out loud, "are they what Grandma Beetle would love the most?"
Señor Calavera ends up collecting a gift for each letter of the alphabet -except the Z- but it has taken him so long that he's now late for the party and in his rush, he ends up crashing his bike and dropping all the presents. He couldn't believe his misforture. He had no more time and no presents at all...except for the person Grandma Beetle had loved the most: Grandpa Zelmiro!
Just in Case is a delightful trickster tale. Yuyi Morales has done a wonderful job of incorporating a bilingual alphabet book into the thread of a truly entertaining tale. The illustrations are gorgeous, filled with traditional Mexican images (starting with Señor Calavera, and complete with the classic Mexican lottery game) and plenty of fun details to savor over multiple reads. And you gotta love the ending!