Newbery Verdict: The Whipping Boy

The Whipping Boy // by Sid Fleischman (1986)

TheWhippingBoyNewbery Winner (1987)
Genre: MG, Fantasy/Classic
Rating: 5 Stars

Basic Plot: When Prince Brat decides to run away, he takes Jemmy (his whipping boy) with him, only to be captured by two ruffians. Jemmy keeps his head and, in order to rescue the prince, arranges to swap places with him. But Prince Brat is so bratty and self-focused that he doesn’t catch onto Jemmy’s plan… which leads to complications and danger.


Wow! Just, wow! I read this book in a single sitting and boy, was it powerful. I love Jemmy and his quick-witted brain. As for Prince Brat, I was ready to throttle him over the head several times. He truly is such a despicable character until… well, until he isn’t. I love his transformation!

The humour is spot-on. The chapter titles are fun. The character names are just perfect. It’s a simple story that is truly delightful. Really, I don’t often gush about a book, but I’m gushing about this one!


This book won the Newbery back in 1987. Did it deserve it? Absolutely!


Have you read this book? What are your thoughts? Let me know in the comments!

Newbery Verdict Reading Challenge: This is a personal challenge for me to read books that have either won the Newbery Medal or are a Newbery Honor book. The Newbery is named for eighteenth-century British bookseller John Newbery. Since 1922, this annual award has given to the author of the “most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.” A Newbery Honor book is given to the runners-up.

Note: I’m posting this for Greg Pattridge’s Marvelous Middle-Grade Monday

16 thoughts on “Newbery Verdict: The Whipping Boy

  1. When my library reopens, I’ll have to try to find this one. I have done several book reviews of Newbery Medal Winners on the Scriblerians. ( It’s always fun to see a review on one I haven’t yet read.


  2. I love this book as well! I think it’s one of the best Newberry Medal winners in my opinion. One of the things I think that’s so special is it’s an excellent story, but also very easy to read. So it’s a great introduction to adventure/fantasy since it has all the elements but in a highly condensed format.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I picked this up a long time ago, but didn’t like Prince Brat or maybe I wasn’t in the right mood, so I didn’t finish it. But thanks to your review, I’ll check it out again. I love a good transformation!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. It’s always great to see great books from the past getting brought back into the spotlight, since it often seems like books have a shelf life of a few years before they vanish. Thanks for the great post!


  5. This one sounds very promising. I usually have a love-hate relationship with Newberry books with most of them not on the love side. But this one sounds like one I would be interested in. (Crossing fingers my small town library has it)


  6. Pingback: My Top Reads… from 2020 | Of Maria Antonia

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