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The Whipping Boy
Sid Fleischman
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The Whipping Boy

3.53  ·  Rating Details  ·  17,907 Ratings  ·  999 Reviews
A bratty prince and his whipping boy have many adventures when they inadvertently trade places after becomming involved with dangerous outlaws.
Hardcover, Large Print, 97 pages
Published June 1st 1989 by Fireside Books (first published January 1st 1986)
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(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Jonathan Peto
The story is comically told, practically slapstick, so the characters are not deeply drawn. The themes, however, are serious, so it is fun and offers opportunities for extended conversations. I read it with a small group of pre-third and pre-fourth graders who were ESL students. They were able to access the plot and laugh at the situations. The point of view character is Jemmy, a whipping boy. When the prince does something wrong, Jemmy is the one who gets whipped. The prince, who is nicknamed P ...more
Apr 17, 2008 Jessica rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
Nov 01, 2008 Jess rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 08, 2016 Teresa rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another book read in school by my fourth-grader nephew. (See my review of Ninth Ward. The third he told me of I'd already read: The Lightning Thief.)

I had to warm up to this story, much as the two boys in the book warm up to each other. An action-packed tale full of heart and sympathy with nary a trace of sappiness.

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
Feb 24, 2016 Colin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I really like the plot I really like the plot I really like the plot I really like the plot I really like the plot I really like the plot I really like the plot I really like the plot
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.
Laura Harrison
Great choice for reluctant readers. Quite a slight book. I know it is a hit with children who want a short read when choosing a book from their summer reading list. Good writing and a few action packed pages but not my favorite Newbery.
Jon M
Apr 09, 2014 Jon M rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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
"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
Jan 18, 2014 Amber rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 02, 2013 Becca rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Mar 20, 2015 Gail rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a great read aloud. A young prince seems to be terribly spoiled, even to the point of being called Prince Brat. He decides to run off with his whipping boy and they have some great adventures- The prince makes some good changes to his behavior and he develops a good friendship with Jemmy too. Lots of new vocab in this book. It is good to show the changes in a character over time.
Oct 13, 2007 Katie rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: kidsbooks
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.
This book was HORRIBLE! Seriously, what kind of nickname is Prince Brat? A bad one! Whoever hasn't read this book, lucky you. Whoever has, :( I'm sorry you did.
Duffy Pratt
May 14, 2013 Duffy Pratt rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
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
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
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
Mar 08, 2011 Jinky rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
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
Jonda Bennett
This is a cute story about class relations during the feudal time period. The story starts with the prince (prince brat) looking for attention. When he drags his whipping boy in an adventure he discovers what the people think of him.
Mary Sneddon
Dec 23, 2015 Mary Sneddon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this book when I was a kid and the 4th graders where I work just finished it so I picked up a copy and read it again. It was always one of my favorites and still is. I love the way the narrative is written.
Analissa Cox
Apr 04, 2012 Analissa Cox rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jennifer Heise
Jul 06, 2015 Jennifer Heise rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
A first cousin to "The Prince and the Pauper" but it is too slim to really catch Fleischman's talent.
Jul 03, 2014 D.C. rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: newberies
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
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
Georjeanne Marll
Apr 05, 2016 Georjeanne Marll rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book is about Prince Horace and his whipping boy named Jemmy. Jemmy is a poor boy from the streets and is kept in the castle to take whips for the Prince. It is illegal in the kingdom to punish a prince, and Horace is nicknamed “Prince Brat.” He lives up to the name and Jemmy is whipped quite frequently. Prince Horace is a really mean and selfish child and you wonder if he will ever change. Prince Horace decides to leave the castle and run away and decides to take Jemmy with him. They run i ...more
Owen M
May 26, 2015 Owen M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The book I read was called The Whipping Boy, written by Sid Fleischman. It is about a boy named Jemmy and a prince who is called Prince Brat. Jemmy was a rat hunter on the streets when he taken from the streets. He was put in the castle where he would learn to read and write and do most of the things for Prince Brat. Whenever the Prince was bad, the King would call for the Whipping Boy Jemmy, and whip him as hard as he could and Jemmy wouldn’t make a peep. Then, one night the Prince came up to t ...more
Philip Carlson
Nov 18, 2014 Philip Carlson rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Whipping Boy is the story of a young Prince and his "whipping boy", Jemmy, a local peasant who is responsible for taking the punishment for the Prince's actions. Because of his selfish and child-like acts, the Prince is known only as "Prince Brat" by the people in his Kingdom. Prince Brat and Jemmy have little in common until one day they both find themselves on an adventure outside the protection of the Kingdom walls. Prince Brat and Jemmy must learn to put their differences aside and work ...more
I had assumed that this would have been more violent. In fact, the title put me off in elementary school when this was on a reading list. I do remember several of the boys in my class reading it and thinking that they had somehow "fooled the teacher" because it was a really short book. Because the teacher obviously knew nothing about the reading list she handed out. But such is the way of the fifth grade boy.

Flash forward a gazillion years. I was scouring the shelves for books with large enough
Madelyne GREEN
"The Whipping Boy" is an exciting novel about an orphan, jemmy, who was taken off the street to become the whipping boy for "prince brat," the royal heir, who was forrbiden to be spanked, whipped, or wacked. Jemmy always dreamed of running away to the sewers, where his father worked as a rat catcher, and one day that dream came true, but a simple twist of fate surely has jemmy running away... with prince brat. On there journey, they get captured by two cutthroats. They make a cunn
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Okay, we all know 1 17 Feb 19, 2014 11:07AM  
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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
More about Sid Fleischman...

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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.”
More quotes…