Justin Chase is having the WORST WEEK EVER!
His Mum has just married a vampire.
His Dad is driving a giant toilet on wheels.
His cat has probably been abducted by aliens.
A psychotic bully is making his first day at a new school miserable.
And right now, he’s hanging off the edge of a 10-metre-high diving tower in front of his entire class wearing nothing but rapidly disappearing crocheted swimmers!
And it’s only… MONDAY!
My 7 (almost 8!) year old has been DEVOURING books over the past six months. She has been moving a bit away from books for junior/newly independent readers and closer to middle grade novels, and a format that she is absolutely loving is books where the story is well supported by illustrations throughout. One of her recent favourites has been Worst Week Ever!: Monday! by Eva Amores and Matt Cosgrove. This was one of those books that she took to her room to read before bed, but she kept popping back out to share the latest favourite funny bit, each even funnier than the last. Worst Week Ever!: Monday! is right up there on my recommendations for books to gift middle grade readers (or readers ready to take that step into middle grade books) this year, and today Eva and Matt have been kind enough to pop in for a Q&A with me. Read on below for our chat about Christmas, traditions, and a whole stack of book recommendations!
Hi Eva and Matt! Thanks so much for joining me on my blog to chat a bit about Christmas today!
This year you released Worst Week Ever!: Monday, which was a huge hit in our house! Can you please tell us a little bit about the book, and what inspired you to write it?
Worst Week Ever!: Monday is the start of a side-splitting, heart-stopping, gut-wrenching, bottom-clenching middle grade book series about one very unlucky 12-year-old kid’s worst week ever – where absolutely everything that can go wrong does go outrageously, hilariously, unbelievably, jaw-droppingly wrong! The concept for the series was an idea that had been kicking around our home for years but when the pandemic struck (and Eva lost her job and Matt had all his author visits cancelled) suddenly we had the time to actually turn it into a reality.
Matt, you have also written and illustrated a Christmas book about your friend Macca the Alpaca, Macca’s Christmas Crackers, where we get to see how much Macca loves Christmas, especially finding perfect presents for his friends. I was wondering whether you are both Christmas lovers like Macca, and what your favourite things about Christmas are?
Matt: Macca’s Christmas Crackers was the easiest Macca the Alpaca book to write because I am a massive Christmas fan. Just like Macca I tend to go overboard – and my piggy bank is often empty too! I was so excited when Macca’s Christmas Crackers was re-released with bonus baubles. I couldn’t wait to put our tree up and try the decorations out! (And our tree is always decorated to the Mariah Carey Christmas album on repeat) I also love an Advent Calendar countdown to Christmas Day. The kids pick the LEGO one, but I prefer chocolate.
Eva: My favourite part of Christmas are the carols. It’s like karaoke but everyone sings with you. I grew up in The Philippines where communal singing is encouraged and not cringey.
Do you like to read seasonal books, and do you have a favourite Christmas story or book?
Matt: I was given a pop-up book of the traditional The Night Before Christmas poem as a child, and it is still on our bookshelves and always makes an appearance this time of year. You can actually make Santa disappear up the fireplace and pop out the chimney – it is so cool! And it is hard to beat How The Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr Suess for a classic read aloud. Two new Christmas books I’m keen to check out because the creators always deliver the goods are Another Book About Santa by Laura & Philip Bunting and An Aussie Christmas Gum Tree by Jackie Hosking & Nathaniel Eckstrom.
Is there a particular book you’d love to find under your Christmas tree this year?
Eva: I love cook books (just reading them, not actually cooking from them!) and the latest from the hilarious Nat’s What I Reckon, with the cool illustrations, looks like a gem.
Matt: I’m always inspired by Gavin Aung Than’s brilliant Zen Pencils comics on Instagram and I’m hoping to finally score his collected works in print – Creative Struggle and Dream the Impossible Dream.
Do you have a favourite book you’ve read this year then you’ll be recommending (or giving as a Christmas present!) to everyone you know?
There were so many wonderful books out this year, but it’s hard to do a blanket recommendation as you have to pick the right book for the right reader! For a kid who wants laughs with heart, Exit Through The Gift Shop by Maryam Master and Astred Hicks is winner, while a kids who wants laughs with farts will love TelePortaLooo by The Listies. Young Graphic Novel fans would enjoy either Pawcasso by Remy Lai or Treasure in the Lake by Jason Pamment. Adventurous kids or nostalgic adults would both have fun with the Ginger Meggs special 100th Anniversary collection by Tristan Bancks and Jason Chatfield. But we think one of the best book presents is always a gift voucher from your local book store, so that the recipient gets to experience the joy and excitement of choosing the perfect book for themselves. However, anyone we know with a little kid is definitely getting Matt’s new picture book, Llamas in Pyjamas. Sorry!
Can you share a favourite Christmas tradition?
We have a tradition of buying a really special Christmas tree decoration for our sons every year. We have decorations from our travels to New York and London and decorations that represent important moments in their lives. The idea is that when they move out they will get to take the special decorations with them to their new home for their own Christmas tree as a connection to us and their childhood.
Finally, we’re really looking forward to seeing what you put Justin Chase through in Worst Week Ever!: Tuesday. Can you tell us anything about how it’s going, and whether we can expect Justin’s week to improve?
We’re just wrapping up Worst Week Ever!: Tuesday right now to send off to the printers. We can’t say too much, but things are definitely going to blow up for Justin Chase, on the internet and in real life! And remember, it is called Worst Week Ever, not Pretty Bad Week, so you can expect the absolute worst!
Huge thanks to Eva and Matt for taking the time to chat with me! You can keep up with the latest from Eva and Matt by following them on Instagram here (Eva) and here (Matt), and through Matt’s website here – I’ll definitely be keeping my eyes peeled for Worst Week Ever!: Tuesday!
Worst Week Ever!: Monday is out now from Scholastic.
Source: I bought our copy at our local book shop.
Like chatting Christmas? Check out more Christmassy Q&As here.
About the Authors . . .
EVA AMORES is an author and designer/photographer who has worked for the Sydney Opera House and the ABC. She was born in The Philippines and moved to Australia in high school. She likes shoes, travelling and more shoes.
MATT COSGROVE is the best-selling author/illustrator of Macca the Alpaca and the Epic Fail Tales series. He was born and raised in Western Sydney. He likes chocolate, avoiding social interactions and more chocolate.
Eva and Matt met when they were randomly placed together for a group assignment at University twenty-five years ago and they’ve been collaborating ever since. They’ve made dinner, cakes, a mess, the bed, mistakes, memories, poor fashion decisions and two actual humans, but this is their first book together.