by Sid Fleischman
When buying books for the next school year, there was a Sid Fleischman book on the list that I purchased which must have been what made Ebay suggest “The Whipping Boy” to me. I forgot all about this book! It was one of my favorites as a kid.
Happily, it was as good as I remember and the kids loved it too. The lead characters are a bratty prince and his stalwart whipping boy. There’s a law that you can’t lay a hand on the prince, so they, instead, have a whipping boy to take all his beatings. Of course, with someone else taking the whippings, the prince is a naughty brat who refuses to do his school work and the whipping boy pays the price for it.
The prince ends up running away, taking the whipping boy with him. They run into two bandits who realize they have the prince, but think the whipping boy is the prince because he can write but the actual prince can’t. They refuse to believe that a prince could be ignorant while his whipping boy is literate.
The prince and the whipping boy end up seeing each other in whole new lights and there’s a dancing bear and rats and a guy named Captain Nips and the illustrations were great… It was such a fantastic story and it’s got everyone saying “Gaw!” when they’re exasperated around here. I whole-heartedly recommend this one!
Also, though deceased, Sid Fleischman has a pretty awesome website complete with magic tricks to try.