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Two Weeks with the Queen Paperback – 4 Mar 1999
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When Luke gets cancer it seems to Colin that it is just another way of his little brother trying to get attention. But when Colin is sent to England he hatches a plot that will really make his mum and dad sit up and take notice. If he can just get to the Queen to ask if he can borrow the best doctor in the country then all will be well.
Two Weeks With the Queen is a delight from beginning to end, and brilliantly combines comedy and tragedy as Colin embarks on his hilarious mission. The reluctance of adults to discuss Luke's illness is incredibly well observed, and Colin's dream of resolving his family's problems and becoming the hero of the piece is dealt with so tenderly amid the laugh-out-loud comedy that it is nigh on impossible not to shed a tear. A brilliant book from Australia's best-loved children's author. --Susan Harrison --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
"A gem of a book." (The Guardian) --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.See all Product description
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Colin's younger brother Luke is diagnosed with cancer, his parents decide that Colin should travel to England to stay with his Aunt and Uncle - to spare him from the distress of seeing Luke so ill. Colin has always been fascinated by the Queen of England - her Christmas Day speech always impressed him and he is convinced that if anyone can help Luke it will be the Queen.
Arriving in a very cold England, to stay with equally cold relatives, including a 13 year old cousin whose mother would wrap up in cotton wool if possible, Colin begins his quest to see the Queen, explain Luke's situation and arrange to fly the 'world's best doctor' to Australia to make him better.
Colin is a determined little boy and has quite a few adventures along the way, it is during one particular adventure that he meets Ted. Ted also has a loved-one with cancer and he and Colin become firm friends.
This is a heart-warming story of just how painful love and family life can be, with adventure and humour thrown in which will especially appeal to younger readers and keep their attention.
An ideal way to approach some topics that many adults and parents may find difficult to deal with
This is a fiction book, which has funny moments as well as dealing with difficult subjects with skill and great respect. The book is set in Australia which is where the author has lived since he was 16. The front cover is interesting and really depicts what the story is about. There is the land of Australia where Colin lives, and the land of England, and where the Queen lives, and a plane going from Australia to England, which may hint to the reader that there is some travelling in the book.
The main character Colin is Australian, so some of the language choices reflect that, such as the use of the words `crook', `dill' and `g'day'. The book is written in 3rd person and focuses mainly on what Colin is thinking or doing. Throughout my reading of the book, I felt that I got in to the mindset of Colin, and believed whatever he believed. For instance, when Colin firmly believed that Luke would be ok, and that the Australian doctors were being slack so did I, although I knew really that Australian doctors are as good as the English ones, and if a doctor says that someone is going to die, it is not a joke and they mean it.
The journey that Colin takes to England and the events that he gets up to there are followed closely by the reader. He tried writing to the queen, breaking in to Buckingham Palace, breaking out of the house, going to the top cancer doctor in London and even thought about going to South America to get a tribe to tell him the cure for cancer. The attempts Colin makes to try to get a doctor or someone to save his brother's life are admired. As the reader, I believed that he would find someone or something to save Luke. Like Colin, I didn't want to believe that there was nothing that could be done.
While in England Colin stays with his Auntie Iris, Uncle Bob, and Cousin Alistair. Having these characters in the book brings some humour to the story, which is needed, when the theme of the book is quite dark. Alistair especially is a funny character. He is very safety and health conscious, due to his very over protective parents, and this makes for a funny sub plot. Auntie Iris constantly thinks he is sickening, and Alistair takes a couple of trips to the doctors in a matter of a few weeks, although the only thing really wrong with him is that he has dandruff! Alistair is scared of going to town by himself for fear of hurting himself, and of course because his mum doesn't let him go. The moments that made me laugh out loud in the book normally focussed around when Alistair was speaking, especially the part where he imagined Colin sitting on the end of the Queens bed, and her waking up and having such a fright that she wet herself! Moments like this are needed in the book and work well to keep the story more light-hearted.
Another two characters that Colin met in England were Ted and Griff. Ted was in much the same situation as Colin, as he also knew someone who was suffering from terminal cancer, and that person was Griff. Griff is Teds partner in the book, hence they are a homosexual couple. Griff also was suffering from AIDS and during the book he dies from it. This is quite an emotional part, and has to be dealt with sensitively. This storyline can also provoke a lot of questions from children, which again will need to be tackled with a great deal of sensitivity. Colin gets to know these two characters well in the book, especially Ted, with whom he develops a good friendship. It is lovely to read that Colin is doing all he can to not only help his brother Luke, but also make Ted and Griff's final weeks together really special.
The end of the book is the saddest but yet happiest ending to a book I have read in a long time, and I could feel my eyes well up as I read the last sentence. It finishes at just the right moment, where Colin realises that sick people need to have their family around them, and so he flies back to Australia to see Luke. The story ends with Colin arriving at the hospital and seeing Luke who is so happy to see his brother, and Colin realising that this is where he should be. However, as the reader, you know that Luke has terminal cancer and will inevitably die. This is why it is good to finish the book at this point, on a happy ending, as carrying on the book would have been too sad for many readers to handle, especially children. I also think that it is nice that Colin decided that he wants to go to university when he is older to try and find a cure for cancer.
I have really enjoyed reading this book, and I am not ashamed to say that it made me laugh and cry, which I think makes for a great book that really gets the reader involved with the storyline as it develops. I am not sure which book this reminds me of if any, but I did read a Jacqueline Wilson book about two friends, and where one friend dies, and how the one left manages to cope, so that book had a similar plot.
Colin is a really good character. Firstly he is upset about not getting what he wanted for christmas. He is very upset about Luke having to go to hospital but copes with it really well. Having to stay with his auntie and uncle is pretty boring but finds loads of things to do.
Th language in the book is mostly things we can understand. Austrailians slang is often used. Jokes are used but most of them are serious things anden't things to laugh about.
My favourite bit is when Luke and Colin are playing cricket in the hospital. They had bed pans and lots of hospital equipment as wickets, balls and bats. I also like the fact that Colin is always thinkling as ideas to help his younger brother Luke.
I recommend this book for people at the age of 11-13 years. It was one of the best books I've read this year
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