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by Christine Hamill

Haringey Children’s Book Award James Reckitt Hull Children’s Book Award Laugh Out Loud Award

Cancer is no laughing matter—or is it?

Philip Wright is twelve years old and life is pretty good. He has a comfortable relationship with his mother and gets reasonably good grades—in spite of girl problems, teacher problems, bully problems, and—well, poetry problems.

Philip’s happy-go-lucky life is disrupted when his mother gets breast cancer. Bad enough that your mother is seriously ill—but could she not have developed a less embarrassing kind of cancer—toe cancer, maybe, or ear cancer?

Philip’s attempts to cope with his situation are both hilarious and touching. Through it all, he writes to his hero, a comedian by the name of Harry Hill. Philip looks for advice from Harry, but gets no response to his many highly amusing and urgent appeals for guidance as an aspiring comic, and as an adolescent in need of advice in matters of life and love. Written from personal experience, the novel reflects the author’s own feelings about her young son when she was diagnosed with cancer.


“Middle-grade readers will identify with Philip’s conflicts with his best friend and his antics to win Lucy’s affections.”
—Kirkus Reviews, 02/01/17

“This engaging, affecting novel strikes the right balance between lighthearted humor and sensitivity in its portrayal of a difficult crisis.”
—Booklist, 03/10/17

“A well-written story.”
—CM Reviews, 05/11/15