Most children gravitate to recently published books. I have to admit, I do too. Books published in the last decade are great, but there are a few oldies that should not be overlooked due to age. Just because a book was published over 20 years ago, doesn't mean that it's outdated.
The Whipping Boy by Sid Fleischman was published in 1986. It won the Newbery Medal in 1987. And it deserved it! This book is funny, unique, and timeless.
The story is about a naughty prince. He is known in his kingdom as Prince Brat. However, this bratty prince cannot be spanked when he misbehaves. So, the prince has a whipping boy, named Jemmy. This is literally a poor orphan who gets whipped when the prince is naughty. Both boys want out of the castle as soon as possible and run away together . . . sort-of. Jemmy tries to ditch the prince the entire time, but is unable to lose him. They meet crazy characters along the way and each develop respect and admiration for one another.
This book is quick witted and an easy read. I recommend this book to second or third graders. It's a fun book with a unique plot and a timeless theme.