Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Monday, June 13, 2011


Our family's first introduction to Sid Fleischman's The Whipping Boy, an adventure tale set in the 18th Century, was the well-done 1994 televison adaptation, Prince Brat and the Whipping Boy, starring George C. Scott.  One reason it translated so well to television, is that Fleischman also wrote the screenplay. You can find this enjoyable family movie at Amazon on VHS (click HERE to watch the trailer).

Your kids will love the book - it has a non-stop-action plot and interesting characters that make it a great read aloud.  No wonder it was a 1987 Newberry Medal winner!  It's part Prince and the Pauper with some Princess Bride-style humor, and the survival instincts of Aladdin thrown in. (ages 8 and up)

Jemmy, who once made a meager living catching rats in the sewers, is now living in the king's castle as the whipping boy for Prince Horace, commonly referred to by the citizens of the kingdom as "Prince Brat". Whenever the young prince misbehaves or fails his lessons, Jemmy is punished in his place, since it is illegal to spank the heir to the throne.

When the prince decides to run away, he demands that Jemmy accompany him, so the two boys with nothing in common run away together. Once in the woods, Jemmy and Prince Brat are captured by two scoundrels, Hold-Your-Nose Billy and Cutwater. The scoundrels plot to use Jemmy, whom they assume is royalty because he can write, as a hostage to obtain ransom money and jewels from the king.

When the two boys finally escape from the scoundrels' hut (after Prince Brat has double-crossed Jemmy), they find themselves lost in the forest. With the help of Captain Nips, seller of hot potatoes, and Petunia, the dancing bear, the boys finally escape from danger and find their way back to the city.

Back in the city, Prince Brat begins to appreciate Jemmy's abilities, courage, and friendship, and when the two eventually return to the castle, the prince has resolved to be a true friend to Jemmy and quit his spoiled, selfish ways.

Also by Fleischman:  By the Great Horn Spoon, a comic historical fiction novel about the California Gold Rush. (ages 9-12)
By the Great Horn Spoon!

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