The Whipping Boy

Author: Sid Fleischman
Guided Reading Level: R
Lexile Level: 570L
DRA 40
Grade Level Equivalent: 4.0
My Recommended Age: 8 and up

Having been raised in the sewer catching rats, Jemmy is adjusting to life in the castle as the Whipping Boy. You see, it is illegal to strike an heir to the throne. So, whenever Prince Horace, also known as Prince Brat, pulls a prank or fails his lessons, the Whipping Boy is
summoned and lashed in his place. When Prince Brat decides to run away he demands that Jemmy go with him and the adventure begins.

When my son first brought this book home, I was taken aback. The title seemed awfully harsh for my second grader. Upon reading it, I realized that the book's name leads the reader to believe that this book is much harsher than it actually is. It almost feels like a Tom Sawyer and Huck Finn adventure, with little questionable content. The whippings are short on details, and are described with a light-hearted tone... "You get me thrashed so that this hide o' mine feels like the devil run me over with spikes in his shoes".

This book will definitely appeal more to boys than girls, but don't hurry to give it to an inexperienced reader, as the dialogue is a mix between "street-rat" and Old-English.

Happy Reading

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