You’ve seen this classic story enacted in dozens of TV shows and movies over the years, but here is the original! (Well, maybe Shakespeare used this plot device first. . .)
Two young boys live in 16th century London. Their lives could not be more different. Tom is a street urchin, struggling day to day to survive. Edward, on the other hand, is the Prince of Wales — son of King Henry VIII and heir to the British throne. Despite this wide divide, they share two important things, a birthday and a face. Indeed, they could pass for identical twins!
One day, Tom and Edward meet unexpectedly and on a lark decide to trade clothes. Before they know what has happened, Tom is whisked into the palace presumed to be Edward! And, of course, Edward, the real prince, is kicked out into the street to fend for himself.
Will things ever be set to right again? Or does a fraud ascend to the British throne in 1547 as King Edward VI?
No one can tell a culturally insightful — and funny — story like Mark Twain! The Prince and the Pauper is a great book to introduce your kids to this iconic American writer, and it is also one of Twain’s easiest books to read.
Middle Grade Reading level, 176 pages, Historical Fiction, England, Published in 1881.