A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
Readers get a feel for life in medieval times in a straightforward, simple story. The epilogue explains that the practice of having a whipping boy stand in for the prince for corporal punishment was a real practice in the Middle Ages.
The spoiled, naive, and inconsiderate Prince Brat learns that his own subjects despise him for his arrogance and legendary temper tantrums, forcing him to confront his own flaws for the first time. By connecting with people from different social statuses than himself, the young nobleman realizes his superiority complex is unfounded and unattractive.
Positive Role Models
Jemmy from the streets serves as the perfect foil for the arrogant Prince. Cunning, street-smart, and self-sacrificing, the whipping boy manages to keep the fugitive aristocrat safe, in spite of his deep resentment for a lifetime of abuse at the hands of the royal family.
Violence & Scariness
Some violent but bloodless chase scenes, as well as a few gruesome threats thrown out by the dastardly bandits who kidnap the runaways.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Sid Fleishman's Newbery Medal-winining The Whipping Boy is an exciting, endearing children's novel about a spoiled prince who runs away from the castle with the servant boy who takes disciplinary beatings in his place. The former enemies must learn to tolerate each other and work together to survive in this thrilling tale of kidnapping, ransom, disguise, and ultimately friendship. Pen-and-ink illustrations by Peter Sis heighten the action and humor.
Is It Any Good?
Though celebrated children's author Sid Fleishman's writing is clearly intended for younger kids, the story is exciting enough to make up for the lack of linguistic flair. Jemmy is a scrappy and likable protagonist, and his frustration with the prince's ignorance and attitude is hilarious. The novel is brief, but it packs a good amount of fun into its sweet little story. Illustrations by Peter Sis underscore the comic turns. Kids looking for an adventure in medieval times won't be disappointed.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.