Cover image for The prince and the pauper
The prince and the pauper
Mayer, Marianna.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
New York : Dial Books for Young Readers, 1999.
Physical Description:
1 volume (unpaged) : color illustrations ; 30 cm
A simplified retelling of the Mark Twain classic in which young Edward VI of England and a poor boy who resembles him exchange places and each learns something about the other's very different station in life.

Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf
RBR AM.2 C6 1999 Adult Non-Fiction Grosvenor Room-Rare Books-Appointment Needed
X Juvenile Fiction Central Closed Stacks
X Juvenile Fiction Fairy Tales
X Juvenile Fiction Open Shelf

On Order



Young Prince Edward lived a life of luxury with servants to grant his every wish. Tom Canty spent his days begging on the streets, and his nights in a hovel with his tyrannical father. When the two boys meet, a simple switch of clothing sets them on a path they'd never dreamed possible. The prince, mistaken for Tom, is forced to live a pauper's life, while Tom unwillingly takes on the life of a prince. And in the end, each boy finds the king inside himself.Marianna Mayer has written many original stories, as well as skillfully adapted versions of classic tales. School Library Journal hailed her Pegasus as "a fine example of the quality of writing that can be achieved in picture-book format." Here she joins painter Gary Lippincott, whose classic illustrations suit Twain's tale perfectly.Together Mayer and Lippincott have created a treasure that belongs in every home library.

Author Notes

Marianna Mayer published her first book, Beauty and the Beast, at the age of nineteen. After college, she studied painting at the Art Students League in New York City. She eventually transitioned to writing. Her works include The Unicorn Alphabet, Marcel the Pastry Chef, Baba Yaga and Vasilisa the Brave, and The Adventures of Tom Thumb.

(Bowker Author Biography)

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 3^-5. Young London beggar Tom Canty encounters Prince Edward VI, and curious about each other's lives, they switch clothes. They have barely noted their uncanny resemblance to each other when a palace guard seizes the prince in beggar's clothing and throws him into the street. Each follows the other's destiny for a time, unable to right matters until the prince appears at the coronation, and things are straightened out. Mayer boils down Mark Twain's The Prince and the Pauper to its essence, retelling the story in a picture-book edition with a sense of drama as well as the occasional, inevitable sense of summarized plot. A better choice for retelling than most classic novels, The Prince and the Pauper has an exciting plot, features children as protagonists, and is seldom read by young people today. Gary Lippincott's dramatic watercolor paintings, impressive for their characterization, composition, and subtle, muted colors, will draw readers to this large-format book. A lively new edition of the old tale. --Carolyn Phelan

Publisher's Weekly Review

Made less satirical than Mark Twain's classic and simplified for younger readers, this retelling is still a lively romp. A beggar and a prince look so alike that they change places but then cannot immediately switch back. Mayer's (The Unicorn and the Lake) adaptation is serviceable if not sparkling; she retains all the key scenes of the story but flattens Twain's archaisms. While some of the original's sophisticated humor gets lost in the translation, much of it remains. For example, when Edward, the prince, tries telling pauper Tom's parents that he is really the Prince of Wales, Tom's mother responds, "Oh, poor Tom, it's all those books you read that's done this to you." And in court, when Tom is given a finger bowl, he drinks from it, announcing, "This is a very flavorless soup." Lippincott (Bruce Coville's Magic Shop series) vibrantly renders the ragged features of the paupers, and his tableaux are full of life. His palace scenes are ornate, light-filled watercolors of splendor in which the boys' homely, toothy faces seem like the only real and honest things. For readers not yet ready for Twain, this version, like its model, will make them think about their places in the world. Ages 7-up. (Oct.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

Gr 1-3-Condensing a 400-page novel into a picture book is a monumental task. The Prince and the Pauper is a long moralistic tale with difficult dialogue written in the archaic pattern of the 16th century. It is also a rollicking adventure of drama and narrow escapes. Though more understated than many of Mark Twain's novels, it is also filled with his sly wit and humor. Mayer does manage to convey the basics of the story in readable prose but the nuances of the novel are necessarily lost. For example, the name of Tom's home, Offal Court, which does as much as any description to place the boy's station in life, is not mentioned. Also, some vital connections are not made. The hiding of the Great Seal and Tom's accidental knowledge of its location, which is the key to Edward's eventual recognition as king, is not delineated. The build up of humor in such events as the first royal dinner, where after a series of mistakes and gaffs, Tom is afraid to scratch his violently itching nose, can not be contained in the shortened version. The illustrations, done in realistic watercolors, though often relying too heavily on gaping mouths to portray emotion, pick up the dramatic moments of the story. Ultimately, though, even a skillful picture-book retelling can be no more than a brief summary of the original, and not a substitute for it.-Karen James, Louisville Free Public Library, KY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.