I love the folk art associated with the Mexican Day of the Dead Holiday. So I was thrilled when I found a children’s book that is the perfect example of this folk art style so I could share it with my kids.
Just a Minute by Mexican artist, Yuyi Morales has become a huge favorite with my kids. This book gets read many times in October and throughout the year. I love it because the illustrations are so beautiful, colorful, and remind me of my childhood when I lived in Mexico for four years. I also love it because it is a good story and helps me teach my kids how to count in Spanish. My kids love the story because it is funny. My daughter can’t stop laughing when she sees the picture of Señor Calavera, the skeleton, wearing an apron or stomping up and down in frustration.
OK, that sounds weird, so what is the story about? When skeletal Señor Calavera appears at the door, Grandma Beetle is preparing for a party. He wants her to come with him but she asks him to wait. As she prepares for a festive birthday party at which Señor Calavera finds himself a guest, kids will learn to count in English and Spanish. As Grandma Beetle keeps coming up with things to do to delay leaving with Señor Calavera, the expression on his sugar-skull face grows more and more hilariously impatient — but by party’s end, he leaves a thank-you note in his wake promising to be back for Grandma Beetle’s next birthday. While adults will understand that she tricked death, kids will be laughing at the illustrations, yelling out “Just a Minute, Señor Calavera”, and learning to count in Spanish.
This is a great story that is a tribute to Mexican traditions and family. They are definitely having a Chocolate Cake Moment at this birthday party! The book is also a nice alternative to traditional Halloween books, that still let you enjoy the spirit of spooky fun.
If you like this book, check out Just in Case, featuring Señor Calavera that you can pre-order at Amazon.where Yuyi Morales talks about what Day of the Dead means to her. There are also coloring pages of Señor Calavera for your kids. She has a new book coming out,