In 16th century England, two boys are born on the same day into very different circumstances. Tom Canty is a pauper who dreams of being a Prince. Young Edward is a prince who covets the freedom of being a pauper. When the two boys decide to trade places, they both get more than they bargained for.
While Tom Canty tries his best to manage kingly duties, Edward wanders his kingdom as a pauper, accompanied by a loyal old soldier named Miles. Trying to make his way back to the palace, Edward has much occasion to witness the misery and injustice that his kingdom’s cruel laws inflict upon the poor, and to develop the compassionate nature that will one day make him a wise and merciful King.
Many critics see The Prince and The Pauper as Twain’s most mature and whole-souled effort. Though rife with humor, the story also reflects Twain’s own great compassion and warmth.
Original author: Mark Twain
Retold by authors: Alan Venable and Jerry Stemach
Guided Reading Level: M
Lexile Level: 420