The Whipping Boy: An Elementary Grades Literature Unit Study

This post is part of the 31 MORE Days of Literature Unit Studies series. You can find all of the links to the thirty-one studies in this post. If you’d like to use these ideas to create your own unit study, this post has step-by-step instructions as well as a free unit study planner. (Want to know more about what, exactly, a unit study is? This post will help.)

While you’re reading and working on your unit study, you can download this free printables pack of graphic organizers for reading. It has a plot chart, venn diagram, KWL chart, two mini book report organizers, a character analysis chart, a plot outline chart, and a reading response sheet where students can record facts while reading.

Literature unit study for The Whipping Boy
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The Whipping Boy makes for a good chapter book for a literature unit study for elementary-aged students. There are comedic actions and heart-warming moments. The book isn’t that long and is a pretty easy read for upper elementary and middle grade kids.

Book Information


Title: The Whipping Boy

Author: Sid Fleischman

Recommended ages: Upper elementary and middle grades

Synopsis: Set in the Middle Ages, Prince Brat is the royal heir and Jemmy is his whipping boy. Although the prince is…like his name…a brat who is constantly up to mischief. He can’t be punished, however because he’s the prince. So all the punishment goes to Jemmy, who’s pretty fed up with the whole situation.

When Prince Brat decides to run away, the two boys are caught by outlaws and end up switching places. Jemmy is terrified about what might happen to him when the boys return to the castle- especially if he’s blamed for the adventure. But Prince Brat’s attitude toward him is changing, and by the time the two boys make their way home, life is definitely different.

Language Arts

If you have enough people in your family or can do this with a co-op, here is a free reader’s theater script for The Whipping Boy. (Keep scrolling a few down the page.)
This extension activity page from Scholastic has two ideas to use with kids after reading the book.

History- The Middle Ages

Want to know what life was like in a castle during the Middle Ages? This site has all kinds of information about castles.
We often think of life in the Middle Ages as very primitive. But there were definitely some important inventions during the time. This timeline has information about technology in the middle ages.
This History Extra site from BBC has some fun Medieval facts. There are other links for learning about the Middle Ages at the bottom of the site.
History for Kids also has a very complete site with links to information about Medieval weapons, nations, events, and people.

Crafts and Fun

Made to go along with The Story of the World, these free lapbooking elements would make a great visual as you’re learning about the Middle Ages.
Kids Activities Blog has a page full of fun Middle Ages activities you can do as you’re reading the book.

With the free printable here, kids can make their own castles. (Scroll a little way down the page.)

Other Resources

There is a 2009 movie version of the story. I haven’t watched it, but it has fairly good ratings and recommendations.

Don’t miss the other literature units in this series!

Literature unit studies for kids

I’m linking up with A Little Bird Told Me

The Homeschool Nook at This Chaotic Bliss

Hip Homeschool Moms

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