Monday (Worst Week Ever #1)

Scholastic. (Worst Week Ever: Bk. 1). Feb. 2024. 192p. pap. $7.99. ISBN 9781338857542.
Gr 3-7–Husband-and-wife team Cosgrove and Amores kick off a fun-filled series with this highly illustrated novel. Justin Chase, 12, just wants to fit in, but he is highly anxious given the latest events in his life. He is starting a new school, facing a bully, has a new stepdad whom he thinks is a vampire—and his actual dad, a plumber, is driving a giant toilet on wheels! Justin even worries about his cat being abducted by aliens. Readers are taken through one day in Justin’s life: Monday, starting at 5 a.m. Each part of Justin’s day is depicted through prose and dynamic spot art and panels, painting a very clear picture of who he is and his values. The tone of this self-portrait is reminiscent of Junior from Sherman Alexie’s The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian. Illustrations flesh out the cast; important people in Justin’s life each get a special diagram for their likes and dislikes. Most amusing is his nan’s obsession with crochet, including experimenting with curtains, umbrellas, and hats for the cat. Readers will wonder if they really can swim in crocheted swim trunks! Tweens will enjoy the fun facts included at the end of the book, and the guidance on how to draw Justin Chase.
VERDICT A charming look at one tween’s day, rife with goofiness and middle grade toilet humor. Fans of Captain Underpants will enjoy this series.

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