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The Whipping Boy
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About the Author

Sid Fleischman wrote more than sixty books for children, adults, and magicians. Among his many awards was the Newbery Medal for his novel The Whipping Boy. The author described his wasted youth as a magician and newspaperman in his autobiography The Abracadabra Kid. His other titles include The Entertainer and the Dybbuk, a novel, and three biographies, Sir Charlie: Chaplin, The Funniest Man in the World; The Trouble Begins at 8: A Life of Mark Twain in the Wild, Wild West; and Escape! The Story of The Great Houdini. Peter Sis is an internationally acclaimed author, artist, and filmmaker. Among his works are three Caldecott Honor books: The Wall: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain; Tibet: Through the Red Box; and Starry Messenger: Galileo Galilei. He has illustrated five other novels by Sid Fleischman, including the Newbery Medal book The Whipping Boy. He lives with his family in New York State.

Reviews

Gr 5-7 Roles are changed when young Prince Brat, as everyone calls him (he is so altogether rotten that ``Not even black cats would cross his path''), runs away with Jemmy, his whipping boy (the commoner who takes the Prince's punishments). Because Brat has never learned to write and Jemmy can, a couple of prince-nappers decide that Jemmy is the real prince. Chiefly through Jemmy's cleverness, the two escape and return to court. Brat has learned much and changed for the better during his adventures. He winds up calling Jemmy ``friend,'' and he is certain to be a better prince hereafter. This whimsical, readable story delights in the manner of Bill Brittain's books The Wish Giver (1983) and The Devil's Donkey (1981, both Harper). Full-page black-and-white illustrationssomewhat grotesque but always complementaryadd attractiveness to the story. The mistaken identity plot is always a good one: children, even fairly old ones, like disguises and this kind of mix-up. Supplementary characters are well-drawn both by Fleischman and by Sis, so the whole hangs together in basic appeal. Readers could well move from The Whipping Boy to its much longer cousin, Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper. George Gleason, Department of English, Southwest Missouri State University, Springfield

With his flair for persuading readers to believe in the ridiculous, Fleischman scores a hit with his new creation. Sis's skillful pictures emphasize events in the adventures of the orphan Jemmy, kept in his king's palace to be thrashed for the offenses committed by the royal heir, known as Prince Brat. It is forbidden to punish Brat, whose tricks multiply until Jemmy is tempted to escape the daily round of flogging. But the prince himself takes off and forces the whipping boy to go with him. As they get into and out of trouble on the outside, Jemmy hears that he has been accused of abducting Brat. When the prince arranges for their return to the palace, poor Jemmy fears the worst, but things turn out for the best at the story's satisfying close. Colorful types like a thief called Hold-Your-Nose Billy, Betsy and her dancing bear Petunia, et al., increase the fun. (7-11)

"The Whipping Boy is a quick, fast-paced book full of wisdom and heart. It delivers a full-scale story in a short, accessible format."--Brightly
"A rollicking tale of adventure and mistaken identity, written in a style reminiscent of 19th-century melodrama."--Kirkus Reviews
"A top-notch read-aloud."--Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books
"Eminently satisfying."--ALA Booklist
"With his flair for persuading readers to believe in the ridiculous, Fleischman scores a hit."--Publishers Weekly

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