Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book

Last updated Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Author: Yuyi Morales
Date of Publication: 2003
ISBN: 0811837580
Grade Level: Kindergarten    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: May 2008

Synopsis: From amazon.com: 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.

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  What is a trickster? What is a trick?
•  Have you ever pulled a trick on someone or has someone ever tricked you?
•  How many children can you count on the cover?
•  How many grandchildren?
•  How many animals?
•  How many skeletons?

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Who do you think Senor Calavera is? (Death-the Grim Reaper)
•  Why do you think Grandma Beetle is making him wait?
•  Who do you think is being tricked?
•  Why is Grandma making so much food?
•  How high is Grandma going to count?
•  How high can you count in English? How high can you count in Spanish?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw and create your own birthday cake using construction paper and white paper. Cut out different color candles from construction paper; cut out different layers of cake or decorations for the sides and top and glue on.
•  Fold a piece of construction paper in half, short ends together (hamburger). Glue a popsicle stick in the middle of the two ends. On one side, draw Senor Calavera and on the other draw Grandma Beetle. Cut around the drawings to make a mask.

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don’t have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!