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A young orphan named Jemmy rouses from his sleep. "Ain't I already been whipped twice today? Gaw! What's the prince done now?". It was forbidden to spank, thrash, or whack the heir to the throne. Jemmy had been plucked from the streets to serve as whipping boy to the arrogant and spiteful Prince Brat (real name: Horace). Dreaming of running away, Jemmy finds himself trapped in Prince Brat's own dream--at once brash and perilous.

Longer Description

Jemmy, an orphan, is whipped whenever Prince Horace disobeys. The prince, also known as Prince Brat, is an extremely naughty boy and does not learn his studies. Instead, Jemmy learns them because he is frequently beaten in the schoolroom during class instruction. One night, the prince demands that Jemmy run away from the castle with him. Once on the outside, they are kidnapped. Because of Jemmy's ability to read and write, the kidnappers think Jemmy is the prince and Prince Horace is the whipping boy. Twice Jemmy comes up with a plan to free the prince, but the prince refuses to go along with either plan. Even though the whole mess has been the prince's fault, Jemmy knows he'll be blamed for it. When Jemmy tries to escape, Prince Horace tells the kidnappers where Jemmy has hid. Jemmy and Prince Horace finally escape together, and only then does Prince Horace realize how little he knows about the real world. Together, they find driftwood to sell, help pull a wagon out of the mud and flee into the sewers to escape the kidnappers. In the end, Prince Horace outsmarts the kidnappers and saves their lives. Prince Horace and Jemmy return to the castle as friends.

Reader's Reviews


In this briskly told tale of high adventure, taut with suspense and rich with colorful characters, the whipping boy and Prince Brat must at last confront each other. Award-winning author Sid Fleischman again blends the broadly comic with the deeply compassionate in this memorable novel.


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Parental Guidance

  • Reading Age: 8+
  • Reading Aloud Age: 8+

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