The Prince and the Pauper: A Tale for Young People of All Ages

( 83 )

Overview

Mistaken identity! Subterfuge! Plots and counterplots! Does this sound like the latest murder-mystery novel? Well, pull up a chair and immerse yourself in one of the best childhood fantasy novels ever written.

Mark Twain wrote The Prince and the Pauper and dedicated it to his two daughters, Glara and Susie. In a departure from his usual style, Twain weaves a delightful story of the prince who wants to see something of the world, and the pauper boy who wants to escape from the ...

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Overview

Mistaken identity! Subterfuge! Plots and counterplots! Does this sound like the latest murder-mystery novel? Well, pull up a chair and immerse yourself in one of the best childhood fantasy novels ever written.

Mark Twain wrote The Prince and the Pauper and dedicated it to his two daughters, Glara and Susie. In a departure from his usual style, Twain weaves a delightful story of the prince who wants to see something of the world, and the pauper boy who wants to escape from the cruelty of his world. It is lavishly illustrated with pen-and-ink drawings.

When young Edward VI of England and a poor boy who resembles him exchange places, each learns something about the other's very different station in life.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susan Hepler
Not bad, this adaptation which is one in a series now numbering over two dozen titles. While there's no literary merit to this retelling, the story is clearly told, numerous characters are kept in place, and nothing distracts the reader from what happens next. However, the tradeoff is that nothing much of Twain's inimitable style or the flavor of sixteenth century England remains although the theme of knowing the people well whom you are asked to rule comes through strongly. "Step into Classics" series.
School Library Journal
Gr 4-6Carl Reiner narrates this abridged version of The Prince and the Pauper. It captures the main plot points of the book and retains the rollicking humor of Twain's writing. The story concerns Tom Canty, a poor boy, who bears a striking resemblance to Prince Edward, heir to the throne of England. Through a series of mishaps, the boys change places, and those around them do not believe them when they each claim to be the other boy. Eventually, all ends well, with Edward restored to the throne and Tom retaining a place in his court. Reiner's narration is, at first, a big jarring, since an American accent telling a very British story is unexpected. However, once the story develops, listeners will quickly become engrossed. Various sound effects, such as trumpet fanfares, give the story some color. Overall, this is an entertaining choice for most public libraries.-Melissa Hudak, Roscoe Branch Library, Loves Park, IL
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780195114065
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press, USA
  • Publication date: 3/6/1997
  • Series: Oxford Mark Twain Series
  • Pages: 496
  • Product dimensions: 6.81 (w) x 8.75 (h) x 1.43 (d)

Meet the Author

Lucy Rollin is Associate Professor of English at Clemson University.

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Read an Excerpt

I The Birth of the Prince and the Pauper

In the ancient city of london, on a certain autumn day in the second quarter of the sixteenth century, a boy was born to a poor family of the name of Canty, who did not want him. On the same day another English child was born to a rich family of the name of Tudor, who did want him. All England wanted him too. England had so longed for him, and hoped for him, and prayed God for him that now that he was really come, the people went nearly mad for joy. Mere acquaintances hugged and kissed each other and cried. Everybody took a holiday, and high and low, rich and poor, feasted and danced and sang, and got very mellow; and they kept this up for days and nights together. By day London was a sight to see, with gay banners waving from every balcony and housetop and splendid pageants marching along. By night it was again a sight to see, with its great bonfires at every corner and its troops of revelers making merry around them. There was no talk in all of England but of the new baby, Edward Tudor, Prince of Wales, who lay lapped in silks and satins, unconscious of all this fuss, and not knowing that great lords and ladies were tending him and watching over him—and not caring either. But there was no talk about the other baby, Tom Canty, lapped in his poor rags, except among the family of paupers whom he had just come to trouble with his presence.

All new material in this edition is copyright © 1988 by Tom Doherty Associates, LLC

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Table of Contents

I. The Birth of The Prince and the Pauper 23
II. Toms Early Life 27
III. Tom's Meeting with the Prince 37
IV. The Prince's Troubles begin 49
V. Tom as a Patrician 57
VI. Tom receives Instructions 73
VII. Tom's First Royal Dinner 89
VIII. The Question of the Seal 97
IX. The River Pageant 103
X. The Prince in the Toils 109
XI. At Guildhall 123
XII. The Prince and His Deliverer 133
XIII. The Disappearence of the Prince 151
XIV. "Le R oi est mort--Vive le R oi" 161
XV. Tom as King 179
XVI. The State Dinner 195
XVII. Foo-Foo the First 203
XVIII. The Prince with the Tramps 223
XIX. The Prince with the Peasants 237
XX. The Prince and the Hermit 247
XXI. Hendon to the Rescue 259
XXII. A Victim of Treachery 269
XXIII. The Prince a Prisoner 281
XXIV. The Escape 289
XXV. Hendon Hall 295
XXVI. Disowned 309
XXVII. In Prison 317
XXVIII. The Sacrifice 333
XXIX. To London 341
XXX. Tom's Progress 347
XXXI. The Recognition Procession 353
XXXII. Coronation Day 365
XXXIII. Edward as King 385
Conclusion: Justice and Retribution 399
Notes 405
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Reading Group Guide

Set in sixteenth-century England, Mark Twain’s classic “tale for young people of all ages” features two identical-looking boys—a prince and a pauper—who trade clothes and step into each other’s lives. While the urchin, Tom Canty, discovers luxury and power, Prince Edward, dressed in rags, roams his kingdom and experiences the cruelties inflicted on the poor by the Tudor monarchy. As Christopher Paul Curtis observes in his Introduction, The Prince and the Pauper is “funny, adventurous, and exciting, yet also chock-full of . . . exquisitely reasoned harangues against society’s ills.”

This Modern Library Paperback Classic is set from the Mark Twain Project edition, which is the approved text of the Center for Scholarly Editions of the Modern Language Association.

1. The Prince and the Pauper is set in sixteenth-century Tudor England during the reign of Henry VIII. This time was marked by a great social and economic disparity between the rich and the poor. How does Twain tackle this issue in the novel? What did you learn from this time period about democracy and monarchy?

2. Some might say Miles Hendon acts as the "hero" in this novel. What heroic qualities does he possess? Is he lacking any that prevent him from being a true hero?

3. What are some of the similarities between Tom's and Edward's lives? What makes the other's life more appealing to Tom and Edward, respectively? How do they grow through their experiences?

4. In the novel, children believe that Edward is the king while the adults do not. Are there other examples where children have greater knowledge than adults? ConsiderTwain's implications here.

5. The Prince and the Pauper has been compared in style to works of Dickens. What aspect of the novel stands out to you most?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 83 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(25)

4 Star

(23)

3 Star

(14)

2 Star

(5)

1 Star

(16)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 83 Customer Reviews
  • Posted May 7, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Classic Book Category with very ADULT content

    My 4th grade son was given the reading assignment of choosing a classic book for his report. While I am very supportive of what he reads and always read what he reads, either with him or on my own, I was quite surprised with some of the content in the book.

    While some of the situations and lessons are great for kids to learn, it was quite bothersome and hurtful to my son to read about how the main character, Tom Canty, is treated by his father. While I certainly do not want to ruin the story, he is starved and beaten for not begging and stealing enough to his father's satisfaction. In continuing with the story, the Prince witnesses women be burned alive at the stake while their daughters grasp for them and one of them actually has her clothing catch fire.

    Some parents may certainly be okay with their child reading content such as this, my son had a hard time accepting that he had to read and then write about this among other incidents that happened throughout the book.

    The language is very difficult to understand as well. While the book was rated for his age group, I feel it would be more acceptable for older children who are more emotionally able to understand and accept that treatment such as what was endured throughout the book was tolerated in the time it was portrayed to have "happened".

    The footnotes were extremely helpful and made the book a bit more easier to understand and more realistic in some ways.

    Hope this review helps other parents in deciding whether or not this might be the best book for their child.

    12 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2008

    A great read

    Two boys, a prince and a pauper, decide to trade lives since neither is happy with his own. A great and classic book that all children should read.

    5 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 30, 2004

    A Worthwhile Read

    Throughout history there have been many classic novels that have truly captivated many a reader¿s attention. These novels include one I¿ve recently read: The Prince and the Pauper by Mark Twain. This novel portrays the traditional theme of wanting a life different than your own. In this novel the prince, Edward Tudor, and the pauper, Tom Canty, long for things that their lives cannot provide: the prince wishes to play as a boy and the pauper wishes to be wealthy and renowned like the prince. The two, who are of the same age and similar appearance, end up switching lives after Edward allows Tom to wear his royal garments. The prince then leaves the palace still dressed in Tom¿s rags. The prince is thrown out and mocked. The prince learns the hardships of a pauper¿s life and Tom is able to enjoy some of the benefits, as well as some of the pressures, of the life of a prince. The prince¿s father then dies, leaving the role of king up to the next royal in line: the prince himself. A part of the book that I find especially intriguing is the prince¿s encounter with the pauper¿s father, John Canty. The prince finds John in hopes that he will be able to restore the young Tudor to his rightful position as prince. However, John assumes that the prince is actually the pauper trying to plead insanity to escape from punishment for bringing home no money. John viciously abuses the prince, asking the help of Grandma Canty in his mistreatment of the fatigued lad. This, in my opinion, demonstrates the evils of human nature. John¿s instinct to lash out at his own son is truly wretched, and yet sadly his nature is, in reality, similar to that of cruel individuals. In this same scene a lone man attempts to protect the prince, taking a horrid blow himself. This man represents the good of human nature: man¿s willingness to sacrifice himself for another. In addition, when John and his captive reach home, the pauper¿s mother and sisters try to protect and comfort the frail prince, though they also mistake him for Tom Canty. This scene is very touching because it shows the vast spectrum of human nature from horribly evil to incredibly good. The Prince and the Pauper is a truly touching novel that gives a detailed picture of life in 16th century England. The rich and the poor, as well as the good and the evil are all described in this exciting novel. Life was difficult for many a being at the time. Injustices were often suffered. However, by witnessing firsthand the cruelty and unfair treatment of citizens in his kingdom, the prince¿s character was strengthened, thus allowing him to learn to overcome such evil and become a just and kind ruler. This book is a very worthwhile read with a timeless and valuable lesson that relates to all of us who have ever yearned for a different life.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 26, 2006

    a reviewer

    The Prince and the Pauper was a pretty good book. In the beginning, I thought it was boring and slow. But, towards the middle of the book, the plot went faster and it was more exciting. I would recommend this book for people ages 10 and up.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2000

    Ick

    I thought the story was very overdone and incredibly hard to get into. If you don't HAVE to read this book, DON'T.

    3 out of 6 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 31, 2012

    Hu

    I dont understand

    2 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted November 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I can't wait for my daughter to read this

    Though some of the language is convoluted, context renders it pretty easy to understand, and some of the darker situations just make the conclusion that much more thrilling to read. I think the descriptions of the pauper boy's life, with regular beatings and hunger, yet devoted friends and time for play, are quite enlightening, as are the descriptions of Westminster and the riot on London Bridge.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2013

    Mar 8

    Love it

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 1, 2007

    Makes a wonderful Audio Book!!

    This review is not just about the book itself, but specifically for the Audio version of the book, read by veteran actor Kenneth Jay who is also the narrator on an audio version of Mark Twain's 'A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court'. I like this reader's style very much. I think Mark Twain really comes to life when read aloud, and The Prince and the Pauper is an excellent example. Most people are familiar with the famous storyline of the two lookalike boys: one the heir to the throne of England, and the other a poor ragamuffin from the dirty streets of London, who meet by chance and decide to change clothes and impersonate one another as a joke for a few hours, but it all goes wrong and both boys get stuck in their assumed roles for much longer than intended. But Twain's dry wit, fascinating descriptions, and observation of life are often lost in the film versions, while this audio book, although abridged, remains true to Mark Twain's exact words and brings them to life in a way that doesn't happen when you read it silently to yourself. This reader is very skilled with voices and accents, so all the characters seem real and different, and the result is very entertaining storytelling from start to finish. Although I personally prefer this reader's audio book version of A Connecticut Yankee, I think the storyline of this book will appeal more to people, particularly younger people

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2014

    Adam

    It deserves 100 stars

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 4, 2014

    Very good

    Very entertaining. I highly recommend this book for everyone,

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2013

    I have never read this book

    I have never read this book.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 2, 2013

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    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2012

    The Prince and the Pauper

    Hard to read. To many spelling and typing errors.

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 22, 2013

    This wonderful book deserves better!

    The digitization ruined this book. It is so fraught with errors as to be all but unreadable.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 22, 2012

    By Giant Smart 1

    Ive read treasure island too this one too,although you might come across british words.

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 30, 2012

    sounds goid

    Is it as good as it sounds? What are some other good books please?

    0 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 18, 2012

    Something

    I heard this.is a good book, and im supposed to read it for honors english or treasure island. Im thinking of reading treasure island, but if this is a good book, ill read this instead. Help?

    0 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    Great red

    I loved it absolutly awesome...but thats to be expected right?

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 28, 2011

    This is a terrible copy of this book

    Words are misspelled...... big gaps on pages.......I could not read it....it gave me a pain in my .....? Hraf

    0 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 83 Customer Reviews

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