The Whipping Boy

History is alive with lunacies and injustices. – Sid Fleischman

I’ve always liked to think that I had some special sense with words. Within a sentence or two, or the first paragraph of a certain work, I would immediately get a sense of whether I was going to like the work or not.

Right off the bat, I knew I was going to like the book The Whipping Boy by the John Newbery Medal Awardee Sid Fleischman. I knew it when I flipped open the last page of the book and encountered the author’s note: Readers often write to ask if a story is true. This tale is a work of the imagination, but the most surprising part of it is true.

The most surprising part of the story was the concept of the whipping boy – someone who takes the punishments due to a misbehaving prince – and how this concept actually forms a fact in history. And it is this most surprising part that is also the most heart-tugging part of the book for me. I weep for the whipping boy – for the one in the story, and for those who have filled these shoes in history.

I usually do not take the time to pore over and read the copyright pages of books, but of this one’s own copyright page, I glanced over and was pleasantly surprised to find a summary and description of the tale. To quote, “A bratty prince and his whipping boy have many adventures when they inadvertently trade places after becoming involved with dangerous outlaws.”

This adventure is a nice one to warm your heart over with. The whipping boy, Jemmy, does not get out of his occupation in life, but then again the book is not about revolution or the reinvention of the wheel regarding the punishing of would-be monarchs. It was about friendship. It was about being a prince, and being a whipping boy.

It was a nice book. It was light-hearted and funny, and I enjoyed reading it.

So to end, I would like to thank the author, Mr. Sid Fleischman, for writing the book, and especially for giving me Jemmy and Prince Brat for two-hour companions. I was charmed to meet them. Thank you.

Thanks also to Clyde for bringing the book from Bohol and sharing it. It was fun talking about it, wasn't it? Hehe. Nerds.

Note: Mr. Sid Fleischman died of cancer last year, March 17, 2010, at 90 years of age. This small space is dedicated to his memory. May he rest in peace.


  1. Nyek kuya, it might not be for you. Unless you were 7 or 8 years old and maybe even's no Darth Vader or Robocop thing eh....^_^ But it's cute. At least for me. ^_^


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