The Whipping Boy

by Sid Fleischman

Other authorsPeter Sis (Illustrator)
Hardcover, 1986



Local notes

Fic Fle





Greenwillow Books (1986), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 96 pages


A bratty prince and his whipping boy have many adventures when they inadvertently trade places after becoming involved with dangerous outlaws.


Texas Bluebonnet Award (Nominee — 1989)
Young Hoosier Book Award (Nominee — Intermediate — 1989)
Sequoyah Book Award (Nominee — Children's — 1989)
Kentucky Bluegrass Award (Nominee — 1988)
Buckeye Children's & Teen Book Award (Nominee — Grades 3-5 — 1989)
Newbery Medal (Medal Winner — 1987)
Nēnē Award (Nominee — 1992)
Grand Canyon Reader Award (Nominee — 1991)
Golden Archer Award (Winner — 1987)
Flicker Tale Award (Nominee — 1988)


Original publication date


Physical description

96 p.; 6 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member Whisper1
In this 1987 Newberry Medal award-winning book, living a charmed life in the castle, Prince Brat does not have to behave -- he has Jeremy, his lower class whipping boy to take the punishment for his rude, insolent, nasty behavior.

Jeremy dreams of escaping back to his previous life as a rat catcher
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in the sewer, living in the dark tunnels away from the sharp whip cracks that sting and cut. He suddenly gets the opportunity to flee, only Prince Horace is the one instigating the escape.

In a Prince in the Pauper fashion, Prince Horace is now stripped of his loftiness and Jeremy is assumed to be the prince as together they are captured by "Hold-Your-Noise Billy" and "Cutwater." These two ogre like characters stalk Prince Brat and Jeremy throughout the countryside where they meet Betsy and Petunia the dancing bear.

In fairy tale fashion, there is a happy ending and the Price becomes humbled and a better person.
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LibraryThing member avcr
Learning to forgive, learning to think critically about why a person behaves in a certain manner, and learning to appreciate and accept all walks of people. Although Fleishman sets the stage in a far off place/long ago time of Princes, Kings and peasants, the problems of poverty, authority figures,
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rules, injustice, kindness, and the social negotiations of the human dilemma can easily be seen in today’s everyday life. Prince Horace (or Brat, as he is labeled by everyone due to his self-centered, troublesome behavior) is a spoiled Prince who underneath his cantankerous demeanor wishes fervently to be seen, to be liked, to be equal, and to have friends. He is truly unaware of this until he and his whipping boy Jemmy are on the lam together. Some royal households in past centuries did haul orphans off the streets, like Jemmy in the story, to suffer the punishments that Princes deserved, but were forbidden to receive; One of my favorites because it speaks to rational thinking, injustice, and love for and equality of all humankind (and animals). If You Liked This, Try Also: Maniac McGee by Jerry Spinelli, Bridge to Terabitha by Katherine Paterson, Shiloh by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor, Sarah, Plain and Tall by Patricia MacLachlan, Dear Mr. Henshaw by Beverly Cleary.
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LibraryThing member kwangme81
A prince nicknamed "Prince Brat" always gets in trouble but because he's the prince he can't get spanked. He has a whipping boy named Jemmy who gets hit in his place. The prince decides to run away and takes Jemmy with him. They run into 2 thieves who kidnap them and try to use the prince as
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ransom. Throughout the adventure, the prince and Jemmy become friends.
I was so shocked to read this book. I couldn't believe the prince would purposely get into trouble just to see Jemmy get hit. I felt so sorry for him and wanted him to get away.
This book could be used as part of unit teaching about the old times with royalty. They could also make their own "kingdom" in the classroom and make up their own rules. The class could discuss what they think about the prince having a whipping boy. They could make some "hot potatoes".
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LibraryThing member r13
The Whipping Boy is a retooling of the Prince and the Pauper. Sid Fleischman use modern language with unexpected twists and turns layered with vaudevillian comedy. The topic of child abuse is handled discretely and within historical context.
LibraryThing member LyndaHuntley
This Newberry Medal winner is about a young orphan boy named Jemmy is a whipping boy for a prince. It is forbidden to spank the prince for much mischief so Jemmy gets a whipping for him. He is miserable. He desires to run away. Eventually he must confront the prince. This is a funny tale that is
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rich with dialogue. I liked how the author named people to fit thier character.
In the classroom, I would use the dialogue to show how good dialogue works. I would choose samples of the book and read the examples using various voices. In groups of four to five students the students would role play with the dialogue to see if it works realistically. I would also show the movie and discuss the diiferences between them.
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LibraryThing member JenniferHauschildt
This is a story about a spoiled prince who can not be whipped, so they find a boy on the streets and use him as the prince's whipping boy. The prince decides to run away and he takes his whipping boy with him. They have some adventures and eventually become friends. The prince learns some good
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Personal Reaction

This was a good story. It starts out bad because the boy is always getting whipped, but I knew things had to get better, so I kept reading. In the end, the prince learns his lesson and they become friends. The story was fiction, but the concept of the whipping boy was true. It is a good book to learn about a negative part of history.

Classroom Extension

-I would use this as a small group book and have them make up questions about the book, so other groups could answer them.

-I would also read this aloud in the classroom. The children could journal about how they thought the prince and whipping boy felt.
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LibraryThing member annafcurry
This book is about a poor boy, Jemmy, whose father was a rat catcher who is a whipping boy for a price referred to as price Brat. Anytime Prince Brat acts out then the whipping boy takes the whippings. One night Prince Brat decides to run away and Jemmy decides this is his time to run away. While
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running away the boys stumble upon two murders that try to use the prince as ransom to get gold and jewels from the king but the boys get away with some help from Betsey and her dancing bear. the two boys make it into town which Jemmy wants to make his getaway to the sewers. While in town the two boys find out that the king wants the whipping boys return and there is a ransom. The boys still have to run away from the murders which have followed them to town and into the sewer. The two boys decide to make it back to the the castle where the whipping boy does not get punished because the prince decides that he will take care of business and act responsible.

This book ended up not being what I thought that it was going to be. I just thought that I would not like it because of the whole prince and castle and I was unsure of what a whipping boy was. The book was adventurous and full of excitment that did not end and you did not want to put the book down.

Extension ideas are talk about kings, queens, castles and princes. Have the children act out a play about the book and maybe the class could go on a field trip to a carnival to see what goes on like in the book.
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LibraryThing member sonyagreen
I read this as a child, and still vividly remember significant portions of the story - which is impressive for me. I remember being absolutely spellbound by the plot.
LibraryThing member lpsinterpreter
In this Newberry story, the prince is such a naughty boy that an orphan named Jemmy is brought in to be the "whipping boy". When the prince would get into mischief, the whipping boy would be punished in his place. When the prince decides to run away, he takes Jemmy with him. In the beginning, this
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is a story of royalty and servants, in the end it is about friendship.

I really enjoyed this story,it held my interest to the end. I could picture them every step of the way because of the colorful words that were used.

An activity would be to make crowns to wear as prince or princess. Discuss what it means to be an orphan.
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LibraryThing member MadalynN
The prince of the land was named Prince Horace but known to many as Prince Brat, It is forbidden to spank the Prince so Jemmy, an orphan, was chosen to serve as Prince Brat’s whipping boy. The Prince was very naughty so Jemmy was whipped everyday. Jemmy is ready to run away but the Prince has the
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same idea and forces Jemmy to go along. On their journey they come across several interesting characters such a Betsy and her dancing bear, Petunia, and the cutthroats, Hold-your-nose-Billy and Cutwater. They are held captive by the cutthroats but escape. The adventure is on from there. Within the escape, Jemmy hears word that the kingdom thinks he abducted the Prince and fears returning to the castle. Jemmy learns to trust the Prince and the Prince to learn to actually care about someone other than himself. The two become friends.

I relate this book to the word trust. Who can you really trust? I have learned many of life lessons growing up and some of them have been the hard way unfortunately. I was almost sure the Prince was a brat but I was so happy to see that all he wanted was a friend. Another word I relate to this book is adventurous. Life is full of adventure and so am I. I cannot wait what life has in store for me.

The children would write about their favorite character and why he or she was their favorite. Then they would draw a picture of him or her and present it to the class. An additional fun activity would be to get already made crowns and have the students decorate them. This would be to let everyone be a king or a queen for a day.
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LibraryThing member MaowangVater
Prince Brat decides to run away from home and takes his whipping boy, Jemmy, with him. They don't get very far before they're lost in the fog, and then captured by that notorious highwayman, Hold-Your-Nose Billy. Jemmy’s plots to escape are spoiled by his spoiled master, who doesn’t seem to
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want to escape. The prince is having too much fun! A wildly funny adventure ensues.
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LibraryThing member rpetty
This is a story about a prince that is called prince brat by everyone, including his family. He is always pulling mean, nasty pranks, but since he is a prince, he cannot be whipped. They bring a poor child in off the streets to take his whippings instead while he watches. The poor child never lets
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out a sound while he is being whipped. He did this to make the prince let him go because the prince enjoyed hearing the children that were being whipped cry and yell out. The prince and him run away. They end up lost in the woods where some bad men find them and were going to hold them for ransom. The bad men asked the prince to write a ransom note but he was unable to read or write so the poor child convinces them that he is the prince and to let the other boy go. They end up being friends and no other boy is whipped again.

This is a good book for all to read and the lesson to be learned is the true value of a friend. This is an adventure from the beginning to the end. This would be great as a group reading or individual.

I would read aloud one chapter a day to the children. After the first chapter, I would have them recall what has happened and predict what is going to happen next. I would continue this with each chapter until the end of the book. I would have the children write a short story about a friendship they have.
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LibraryThing member chendri
The Whipping Boy is about a young Prince who is very bratty and hateful. It is against the law to spank a Prince so the castle finds poor street kids to come in and take the spankings for the Prince. The Prince decides to run away and makes the whooping boy go with him for a long journey of trying
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to escape mean men who are trying to get reward money for the Prince.

This book is a very easy read and entertaining. It made me upset in the beginning to read that the Prince purposly did bad things so the whipping boy would have to be spanked. But once you get past the first couple of chapters and then to the end of the book you realize what a good book it really is.

This part of the assignment is really hard for me when it comes to these chapter books. With not being in a classroom to see how teachers use books like these, its hard for me to come up with a creative idea of my own. It would be good to have in my classroom library. If I were to do a unit on Princes or Kings, I guess this would be a good book to have on hand for that.
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LibraryThing member kp119190
This book is about a boy who is whipped when the prince gets in trouble. This book has a hilarious story line when the prince and the whipping boy run away. They run into criminals and get scared.

I would think that I would have ran away along time ago if I was the whipping boy. I would rather live
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on the streets also. I loved how in the end though the prince told the king the whipping boy is my friend now please dont punish him.

This could be used in a unit about what our actions do to others.
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LibraryThing member chblondie97
I really like this book it is a award winner!! I really like the author Peter sis!!!!
LibraryThing member imagrtdnlvr
This historical fiction book is about a prince, Prince Brat, and an orphan boy, Jemmy, who is his whipping boy. The prince is not to be disciplined, so the king has a whipping boy that receives the prince's punishment. Prince Brat decides to run away and takes Jemmy with him. Along the way, the two
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boys are kidnapped by two murderers that hope to get a large amount of gold for the prince. The adventures begin and the boys friendship grow.

I enjoyed this book from start to finish. The suspense kept me reading until I was too tired to read any more. This reminded me of my childhood with my younger brother. My mother had the brilliant idea to discipline both of us even if the other was not involved. My brother would get in trouble just to see me get the same punishment. This did not work the way my mother wanted it to, we just ended up fighting more.

As an extension, I would have the students write the unfamiliar words down as we read each chapter. I would have the students write a story about themselves if they were a prince or princess. I would also have the students compare/contrast the book to modern day.
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LibraryThing member BobCronk
A prince and his whipping boy run away from the castle. On the way the spoiled prince learns about responsibilty, privilege and frienship.
LibraryThing member Charitas
The Whipping Boy a kingdom where the heir to the throne is forbidden to be spanked. His name is Prince Brat. So, to take his punishment an orphan is taken to be Prince Brat's whipping boy, Jemmy. Both the prince and Jemmy want to run away so they team up. They run into 2 thieves who kidnap them and
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then try to use the prince as ransom. In the long run, the prince and Jemmy become friends.

This was kind of sad story that had a happy ending. I was glad that Jemmy and the prince were able to become friends even after the prince intentionally got in trouble just to see him get whipped.

After discussing what the students thought about the story and the rules of the kingdom I would have the students write what their rules would be if they were the prince or princess.
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LibraryThing member katitefft
This book is a wonderful fairytale that allows readers to see the difference between good and evil through the characters of a spoiled prince and his whipping boy, who takes all of the punishment for his prince's bad behavior. The prince and the whipping boy end up having some wild adventures
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together, which enlightens the prince and changes these two boy's opinions of one another. Finally, this fairytale rapidly takes readers from the climax of the story to a resolution that will leave everyone feeling satisfied and hopeful at the possiblitity of unlikely friendships forming in the real world.
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LibraryThing member SHARONTHEIL
As a fantasy story, The Whipping Boy is a tall tale of robust action that is written in simple prose and rhythmic language. Its use of repetition and the prose's rhythm are reminiscent of Kenneth Grahame's The Wind in the Willows, and the plot borrows heavily from Mark Twain’s The Prince and The
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Pauper. But, this is no mere reiteration or tired retelling; the author infuses this story with humor and a fast-paced, interesting plot. In this reworking of Twain’s tale, the poor lad is the whipping boy who is kept on hand at the palace to take the punishments for the prince's misdeeds. This is a fresh and breezy adventure tale; compared to many other Newbery-winning books, it has no heavy morality, Puritan didactics, or challenging language.
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LibraryThing member sandiwilliams
This book is about two teenage boys who live in a castle together. One is the prince, who everyone calls Prince Brat and one is Jemmy, his "whipping boy". The whipping boy lives in the castle to endure all of the prince's punishments. The prince thinks it is funny to get into trouble all the time
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and has no remorse for any of his actions. The prince decides to run away and has Jemmy go along with him. Unfortunately, they run into trouble with two scoundrels that try to hold the two boys hostage for ransom. The two boys bond in the fight to get away and end up being the best of friends instead of the prince and the whipping boy.

I liked this book because it was a mixture of humor and suspense. I was also surprised to learn that princes really did have whipping boys who would endure the whippings that were intended for the prince. I can relate to the whipping boy because in my family I was the oldest and always felt that I was being punished for the things that my siblings did.
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LibraryThing member MOster
Prince “Brat” is a nasty, rude boy who lives a life of luxury he does not have to worry about getting in trouble because hi has Jemmy, his “whipping boy”. When the two run away and are kidnapped they form a bond of friendship.

I liked this book because it was not only informational but also
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had a good meaning behind it. I read the book to my seven year old daughter and she was so caught up in the story she didn’t want me to stop.

In the classroom, I would have the student research real ”whipping boy” and write a paper of how and where they were used. Students could also write a paper on their views of how the “whipping boy” was used, was it right or wrong?
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LibraryThing member maxi1
The Whipping Boy is a 1987Newbery Award book. It is a story about two unlikely boys finding friendship. The king’s son, Prince Horace, also known as Prince Brat is spoiled rotten. He is usually up to no good. During a feast, the prince sneaks around the chairs of the lords and ties their wigs to
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the back of their chairs. When they stand up their wigs fall off. This upsets the king but because of his royalty no one is allowed to whip or harm the royal prince. An orphan, Jemmy, takes the young prince place. Jemmy is known in the castle as the whipping boy. Jemmy shows his bravery during these whippings and refuses to cry. In a last attempt to get his fathers’ attention, Prince Horace decides to run away and orders Jemmy to come along. During this new freedom, the boys are captured by two men who come up with a plan to ransom the prince. During attempts to escape from these criminals the boys come across people willing to help them. The boys escape is not easy as difficulties among the boys prevent them from working as a team. As their journey continues, the two boys learn to overcome their differences. When the prince decides it is time to return home he explains the escape to the king. The whipping boy is pardoned. In the end everyone involved will have learned valuable lessons.

The twist and turns in the plot of this story make this Newbery a must read. Kids will love this adventurous tale as well. Throughout the story there are many lessons to be learned. I would recommend this story to middle school age children. Well written text makes it easy to visualize the chain of events in this story.

As an extension I would have students read the story "The Lottery Rose", written by Irene Hunt who is also a Newbery award winning author. I would have students compare the live of the two orphaned boys in each book. After reading The Whipping Boy, students could write a paper about of the characters in the story. Students would describe this characters personality and any other information they have learned about this character. Students could write an essay to explain what they would do if the Prince Brat and Jemmy showed up at their house during their run away. Would they help the boys? Why or why not?
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LibraryThing member mitchellmerritt
The story takes place in England in the 1800's.The tale is about the adventures of a whipping boy,someone who takes punishment for royalty,and his master, Prince Brat. Througout their incounters and escapes from two highwaymen, they began to understand each other. Their attitudes change from hate
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and mistrust to friendship and respect.
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LibraryThing member debnance
Oh, to be a prince! To do any sort of mischief and to have a whipping boy to bear the burden of one’s punishment…to have servants dress one, to feed one, to clean up after one…What a life!But, perhaps, the life of a young prince is not the idyllic life others might imagine. For what does the
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prince, Prince Brat, as he is called by his people, want but to run away from his life. And away he runs, following his whipping boy, Jemmy, into a series of adventures involving cutthroats, kidnapping and ransom, a dancing bear, a hot-potato man, a rat catcher, and a chase down into the sewers.
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