The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman
Winner, 1987 Newbery Award
A bratty prince and his whipping boy encounter outlaws, a dancing bear, and other friends and foes when they run away from the royal castle.
Fifty-five pounds of gold coin in trade for his royal tadpole.
About the Author
Sid Fleischman was the author of nearly 60 books. His first published book was for magicians. It took him more than ten years to write The Whipping Boy. His author son Paul won a Newbery award in 1989. (See my earlier blog post about that book.)
For this project, I painted a piece of fabric interfacing with dabs of different shades of green acrylic paint to resemble the forested area where some of the book takes place. I created the bear with fabric and embroidery floss. In the book, the dancing bear alternates between menacing ("it bared its teeth and bellowed out a thunderclap of a roar") and docile. I painted the pewter crown gold to resemble the prince's crown. The date is handwritten in an old-fashioned font on a piece of torn beige cardstock. While this book does have its suspenseful and scary moments, for the most part, it felt humorous and I wanted my piece to convey that feeling.
The Whipping Boy was a fast-paced adventure book with exciting moments, but not too gritty for younger readers. The author uses lively, colorful language, particularly with some of the dialogue, and adds a generous amount of humor. It reminded me of other books with similar themes such The Prince and The Pauper by Mark Twain. I was surprised that the central detail of the book—that there's a young boy who gets punished when a prince misbehaves—was a true fact.
If you read this book, I'd love to hear what you think in the comments.