The Whipping Boy
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The Whipping Boy

3.5 of 5 stars 3.50  ·  rating details  ·  12,870 ratings  ·  807 reviews
For use in schools and libraries only. A bratty prince and his whipping boy have many adventures when they inadvertently trade places after becoming involved with dangerous outlaws.
Hardcover, 112 pages
Published by Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval (first published January 1st 1986)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jess
Chapter book - historical fiction
Newbery Medal
For grades 3-7

Jemmy is Prince Brat's whipping boy, taking any punishment due to the prince, until the prince decides to run away, taking Jemmy with him and leading them into a series of adventures with notorious outlaws.

This tale is told with plenty of humor and adventure, in an entertaining style that suits the content. Prince Brat and Jemmy begin the story as contrasting characters, but develop a believable affinity as they run from castle, outlaws...more
Jessica
As a piece of young adult fiction, The Whipping boy earned a Newberry Award. I'm not sure why. Yes, there are vivid descriptions and some good literary devices used, but the storyline is hardly original and the character development is trite. If you want a fun and easy read about friendship and overcoming prejudice, then perhaps you may enjoy it. But to me, The Whipping Boy does not stand out as a choice children's novel.
Dan
Synopsis:

Jemmy is the prince's whipping boy, a job that means he gets punished any time the prince misbehaves. Tired of the injustice, he decides to run away. Before he can, the prince decides to run away instead, dragging Jemmy along for the ride. Soon, they are kidnapped by two highwaymen who mistake Jemmy for the prince. Now, with their roles reversed, it's Jemmy that controls whether or not the prince will get whipped. Will he help the young prince to return home? Or use the opportunity to g...more
Jon M
This is a terrible book that I was forced to read in fifth grade. I was put into a group of other kids who were also made to read this miserable piece of fiction against our will, and it was so bad, that I was able to persuade my teacher to put me in another group. I thought it'd be better, but everyone else in that group were way ahead of me and understood a lot of it. It was called "The Westing Game" and it was by some guy who doesn't know how to write, and it would take me forever to catch up...more
Duffy Pratt
A slim book with a slim story. There's a Prince and his whipping boy. The whipping boy takes the punishment when the prince does bad, which he does with regularity. Bored, the prince runs away and drags the whipping boy along as his "manservant." They encounter cutthroat highwaymen, dancing bears, a potato vendor, rat-catchers, and other things out of the realm of the prince's experience. In the process, the two bond.

The story is lively enough. The language simple, sometimes engaging, but often...more
Kelly
I selected this book for a grade 3/4 novel study to tie my literacy unit into my grade 4 Middle Ages unit. After some googling, I came across this book as a nice cross-curricular novel. During a recent snow day, I had the opportunity to read through the entire thing to begin planning my unit.

While I think the book is definitely appropriate for a grade 3/4 class (probably grades 3-6), I don't think the Middle Ages tie-in is as accurate as I was led to believe. The book makes mention of Lords' whi...more
Shannon McDermott
Here’s a question: Which would you rather be – a rat-catcher or a whipping boy? On the one hand, rat-catchers catch rats. On the other, whipping boys get whipped. A lot.

At least they do when the prince is known throughout the kingdom as Prince Brat. And Jemmy, an orphan plucked from the streets to be His Highness’s whipping boy, knows which he prefers. If he had a choice, he’d exchange his silk and velvet for rags and be back in the sewers in a half-blink of an eye.

But he doesn’t have a choice....more
Kaitlin
"The Whipping Boy" was indeed a children's book. After reading "The Hunger Games," this book seemed incredibly simple, granted it should be that way. It seemed like hardly right after a problem had arisen, it had already been solved. For example, the boys were out walking and needed to get into the city, away from the bad guys and into a place where Jemmy knew where to hide. Conveniently, a hot potato man comes rolling around the bend. After being caught by the bad guys and Prince Brat is being...more
Eric Mcweeny
(chapter book)
The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman was a great read! It provided a great mix of action and storyline that middle school to junior high school boys will love. Jemmy, once a very poor orphan, is taken by "Prince Brat" to become his whipping boy. Jemmy's life immediately took a wild turn. His new job was to take the whipping's owed to Prince Brat. Because prince's were not allowed to be whipped in those days, every prince had their own whipping boy. The Prince is always getting in tro...more
Jinky
(3.5)
Interesting tidbit that there was such a thing as a "whipping boy", someone taking the whipping for someone else. In this book, Jemmy is the whipping boy for the royal heir, Prince Horace (aka Prince Brat). So if the Prince acts up, which he often does, Jemmy gets the punishment ...boy, that'll teach the prince! (being sarcastic here). Anyway, during the runaway adventure the boys learn about friendship and other things. Like, although Prince Brat can be a dunce, he ends up having a tough s...more
Analissa Cox
Reading about a spoiled prince and his whipping boy was kind of a different reading experience. It made me think whether this kind of thing actually excited because what the point of punishment when you don't actually take the consequences but others do? I guess which was somewhat the point of the story to show that you must take the consequences of your actions, not leave them to anyone else. The adventures the boys went on running away from the two bandits where exciting. They always got away...more
Becca
I somehow missed out on a whole lot of great children's literature when I was a child. Maybe Babysitter's Club was just all I needed, lol. As a result of this lit-ignorance, I am just now reading a bunch of we-read-this-in-school kinds of classics. The Whipping Boy is among these.

I picked this from the library with the intent of reading it for my own information. But somehow I am reading it aloud to my kids. They (especially J) are really loving it. I love that J is old enough to pick up on comp...more
D.C.
I'm a little baffled as to how and why exactly the committee found this "distinguished" enough to take home the medal. Yes, it's got good morals. Yes, it's got kid appeal (something Newberies usually lack in boatloads). Yes, it's entertaining. But the Newbery? This is such a doggone short book that I'm surprised it even made it onto the discussion table in the first place. But on the positive side, it's a nice little read, one of those books that you can give to a young kid and think confidently...more
Susan
It had been a very long time since I had read this book and I didn't remember any of the details. The book's strong point is character development. Both main characters are well developed and it was interesting to see how they grew and changed. This book's premise has caused me to identify times when family members and friends have played the role of "the whipping boy." Interesting!
Haley Gawel
The whipping boy was overall an enjoyable read. The main character, Jemmy, starts off living a poor life catching rats in a sewer trying to make ends meet. Then suddenly, he is called in to be the whipping boy. Although there is no such thing as a whipping boy in today's society, back in the day a whipping boy was someone who took the punishment of someone royal. In this case, Jemmy often took the blame for Prince Horace. Prince Horace, often called Prince Brat, demands Jemmy to run away with hi...more
Amber
I thought this book was a great way to teach a lesson through adventure. Throughout the book you can really see the main characters developing in many different ways such as: their opinions towards each other, what's important to them and their true personalities. This book is a great way to show children that before you judge someone sometimes you have to take a walk in their shoes because you don't know what they're going through. I really enjoyed the illustrations in the book because at times...more
Donovan
It was a good book because it was a fary tale and I like fary tales. The whipping boy learnd his leson not to be bad any more then he woulden't have ran away from home and he met the homeless kid and they ran In to
Jessica
Far exceeded my very low expectations. Granted, the Troll Book Club cover seems designed to lower one's expectations. And the summary doesn't do much to help. "Prince Horace is so naughty that everyone calls him Prince Brat. But the prince is not allowed to be spanked. So an orphan boy named Jemmy is taken from the streets to be the prince's whipping boy." Thankfully the author of the book is far more skilled than the cover writer.

This seems like a perfect read-aloud for a 3rd grade class. Shor...more
Katie
I'm currently reading this as a read aloud with my students. Talk about language that is not used a lot today.

This is a good story, and we've had some awesome little discussions already in class.
Chelsey
Young Reader chapter book. I thought it was interesting and would hold the attention for a young reader...especially if there are having trouble getting into chapter books.
Rich
It is entirely coincidental that I added "The Whipping Boy" just a few days after I added Tedd Tripp's "Shepherding a Child's Heart." Don't read too much into this.
Natalie
It had been ages since I read this book and since it was a shorty and I hadn't read any historical-fiction to the kiddos, I decided to give it a go.

I thought it was charming. Jemmy is a delight and there are some good lessons to be learned from Prince Horace (Brat). Unfortunately, my favorite part of the story was what made it hard for the students to follow - the colloquialisms.

The speech was a lot of fun but my fourth graders had a hard time following it. Especially the ESL students. I would...more
Lily
So, I get that the author is trying to convey the importance of putting ourselves in other's "shoes." However, this book is EXTREMELY short. It probably only took me a little over an hour to read (about 80 or so pages). I would have liked to have seen it be a little longer. I felt that the plot was great, but I would have loved to have seen it fleshed out a little more and seen more of the thoughts from the prince's point of view to show readers how he is really beginning to see how the lives of...more
Claire
Something about the look of this book has never appealed to me. Having to read it for my newbery challenge, I thought I would really hate it. It was a bit better than I expected, but I did not like it. I agree with another reviewer who found the character development trite. What a shock that the prince would learn the value in others and become less selfish! Also, I did not find the book to be compelling. There are plenty of dangerous situations for the characters, but I was never really excited...more
Rachel
This story is about the Prince Brat and the whipping boy Jemmy. Both of the boys learn about each other's lives through different experiences and one grand adventure. I think both of the boys benefited from walking in each other's shoes. Jemmy was able to get a good education and the Prince was able to live like a young boy In that time. This story is a good example for children that you can make friends with unexpected people. That everyone deserves a chance and you'll never know what will come...more
Sidney
I read this book with my class. The story line was great. Great book!!
Rainier
(view spoiler)You know that it is called the whipping boy so that is what it is about. He is called Prince Brat because he can't write his name. Jemmy got whipped only once in the book because the prince did not do his school work. Then they esacpe the castle and get captured by two mean townspeople. There named were Hold Your Nose Billy and Cutwater. They tortured them and followed them twice. Once w...more
Whitney Watercutter
It isn't that I didn't "like" this book, it's just that the book is too short. It fell just shy of being a really great story, but it was underdeveloped and rushed. I feel like there is a really engrossing story in the bones of this book, but double the length would be needed to expose it.

I really liked the characters of Prince Brat and Jemmy, and felt that there could be more to their story. Maybe the author will write a sequel geared more towards older readers who remember the story and would...more
Kate
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Erika
I thought this was an interesting tale with a nice moral for children and great historical world-building. Considering how short the book is Sid Fleischman really does throw the reader into a believeable, magical, and terrifying world.

The whipping boy was very cute. I loved him. I thought it was great how he showed courage and strength throughout the tale. The fact that he learned how to read and write instead of the Prince and was mistaken for the Prince by the two boy's kidnappers was funny. I...more
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Okay, we all know 1 14 Feb 19, 2014 11:07AM  
MCC Children's Li...: Challice- The Whipping Boy 1 2 Feb 07, 2012 05:02PM  
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As a children's book author Sid Fleischman felt a special obligation to his readers. "The books we enjoy as children stay with us forever -- they have a special impact. Paragraph after paragraph and page after page, the author must deliver his or her best work." With almost 60 books to his credit, some of which have been made into motion pictures, Sid Fleischman can be assured that his work will m...more
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“What was he looking for, a prince in fine velvets and a crown cocked on his head? Was it clothes that made a prince, Jemmy wondered, just as rags made a street boy?” 1 likes
“I am Prince Horace!"
"And I'm the Grand Turnip of China!" cutwater snickered.
"Dim-witted villains!" shouted the Prince. "I command you to turn us loose.”
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