About the Pontes Books Blog

Salve! This inaugural blog post is really an introduction to things that are to come! Here at Pontes Books we are passionate about the Classics, but are even more passionate about making them understandable and relevant in a modern world. Though the primary purpose of our bridge and parallel versions of Classic novels is to help with understanding, what about relevance? Here’s where the blog comes in!

Each post will focus on one of four major categories, with a few wildcards thrown in every once in a while. Each chapter will have four dedicated posts before moving on to the next. Here are the categories:


For each novel, we analyze all of the words in the original version. First, we track the number of times each word is used. Then we go through the words that are used ten or more times in the book and pull out the ones that fit into the following categories: tier 2 words, tier 3 words, and Classical words.

Tier 2: Words that are not used in every-day speech, but that will often be seen in other texts.

Tier 3: Words that are specific to that topic (e.g. words dealing with royal life in The Prince and the Pauper.

Classical words: These words a really like a combination of tier 2 and tier 3 words. They are generally specific to Classic texts only (tier 3), but can be seen across multiple Classic texts (tier 3).

Photo credit: https://prakovic.edublogs.org/2015/07/14/building-vocabulary-tier-by-tier/

Each vocabulary-related post will focus on one word from one of these categories (or a group of similar words). We will examine the basics like definition, part of speech, etc., but we will also dive into the etymology and also modern uses.

One caveat related to these posts is that not all Pontes Books versions may contain the words selected. Since the vocabulary has been simplified in most bridge versions of the book, certain vocabulary terms will not appear in those versions. If you are reading the Red, Orange, Purple, or Pink versions, you will be guaranteed to find the selected words.

Relevant Current Event

Though many of the events of Classic novels are certainly outdated, the themes and conflicts are universal and eternal. For each of these posts we will scour the internet for modern (or mostly modern) news articles that relate to some of the characters, events, and themes in the most recent novel.

Historical Tidbit

Many Classical authors include locations, names, events, etc. that were familiar to people at the time the books were written. However, now some of those references have become outdated and the general public are no longer familiar with them. This type of post will focus in on the relevant historical facts that help to understand the references and allusions that may go over our heads due to time.

Fun Fact

Last but not least, these posts will pull out random fun facts that can be related to the corresponding chapters. These could really come in many different shapes in forms and help to bring the FUN and increase your random knowledge for future trivia nights.

The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Nine – Fun Fact

In England, as well as many other countries, we have seen many examples of leaders who use intimidation and threats to keep their people in control. In a modern-day context, we can see examples of this in workplaces and other settings as well. Today’s Fun Fact dives into that particular style of leadership; The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 28 Fun Fact focuses on…


Keep reading or watch the video below for more information.

Reference in The Prince and the Pauper

“About ten o’clock on the night of the 19th of February they stepped upon London Bridge, in the midst of a writhing, struggling jam of howling and hurrahing people, whose beer-jolly faces stood out strongly in the glare from manifold torches—and at that instant the decaying head of some former duke or other grandee tumbled down between them…the late good King is but three weeks dead and three days in his grave, and already the adornments which he took such pains to select from prominent people for his noble bridge are falling. ” (p. 176)

Characteristics of Fear-Based Leaders

  • Their identity is their only source of power
  • Don’t feel whole or healthy
  • Think everyone is a friend or an enemy
  • Desire trophies
  • Don’t want to learn anything new
  • Addicted to measurements

Reasons Fear-Based Leadership Doesn’t Work

  • It gets in the way of cognitive ability
  • It causes resentment and revenge
  • It triggers fight-or-flight
  • It disengages your team and stops teamwork
  • Stops people from speaking up

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Nine – Historical Tidbit

Today’s Historical Tidbit for Ch. 29 focuses on a gruesome part of London’s history. In order to keep the people of London in line, Henry VIII (and many other monarchs before and after him) had a strong visual threat to anyone thinking about going against the Crown. The Historical Tidbit for Chapter 29 is about…


Keep reading or watch the video below to learn more.

When Miles and Edward return from Hendon Hall, they get caught up in a crowd on the London Bridge. While they are there, one of the heads on on display falls and causes chaos on the bridge.

“…and at that instant the decaying head of some former duke or other grandee tumbled down between them, striking Hendon on the elbow and then bounding off among the hurrying confusion of feet. So evanescent and unstable are men’s works in this world!—the late good King is but three weeks dead and three days in his grave, and already the adornments which he took such pains to select from prominent people for his noble bridge are falling.”  (p. 176)

Why were there heads on the London Bridge?

  • On the southern side of London Bridge
  • For 300 years heads were put on spikes
  • They were parboiled and covered in tar
  • Served as a warning to anyone wanting to challenge the Crown
  • They would rot and eventually fall into the river

Famous Heads

  • William Wallace – the first head in 1305
    • Put there by Edward I
  • Jack Cade – led a rebel army
  • Thomas Moore – refused to accept Henry VIII as the head of the Church of England
  • Thomas Cromwell – killed by Henry VIII for treason

Other Facts

  • It was someone’s job to be the Keeper of the Heads
    • He impaled new heads and threw the old ones in the river
  • At one time, 30 heads were counted on the bridge
  • In 1678 the heads were moved to Temple Bar instead
  • Modern-day, there is still a spike on London bridge
    • Could be a sun-dial; could be a reminder of the bloody history of the bridge 
    • Supposedly is just a marker to point to where the original London Bridge crossed the river

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Nine – Vocabulary

Our vocab word for The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 29 doesn’t get used very much anymore. But occasionally it will still come up in modern texts! The vocab word is…


Keep reading or watch the video below see how the word ‘by-and-by’ is used in The Prince and the Pauper.



(n) a future time or occasion

Can also be an adverb

before long

right now


  • by and by (early 14c.) originally meant “one by one,” with by apparently denoting succession; modern sense of “before long” is from 1520s.

Sentences/Additional Forms

  • Straightforward sentence: By-and-by, we’ll take a trip to Europe.
  • Sentence from the chapter: “By-and-by a thought occurred to him which pointed to a possibility…” (p. 175)
  • Other forms: n/a

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NEW PRODUCT: The Prince and the Pauper – Pontes Books White Version Audiobook Now Available

Whether you enjoy listening to audiobooks while following along in the actual book or listening to audiobooks exclusively while doing activities like driving or walking, you might be excited about our new product!

There is now an audiobook version available for the Pontes Books White Version of The Prince and the Pauper!

Where can you find the audiobook?

You can find the audiobook in two places: Audible and Amazon (though both technically are through Audible).

Click here to view book on Audible

Click here to view book on Amazon

If you have any questions, contact us at admin@pontesbooks.com.

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Eight – Fun Fact

Have you ever been in a crowd and it suddenly went silent? Have you ever been a part of a moment of silence? Whether it’s planned or not, the idea of an entire crowd going and remaining silent is always an impressive feat. Today’s Fun Fact for The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 28 focuses on…


Keep reading or watch the video below for more information.

Reference in The Prince and the Pauper

“A faint tinge appeared for a moment in the lady’s cheek, and she dropped her eyes “Hendon made no outcry under the scourge, but bore the heavy blows with soldierly fortitude. This, together with his redeeming the boy by taking his stripes for him, compelled the respect of even that forlorn and degraded mob that was gathered there; and its gibes and hootings died away, and no sound remained but the sound of the falling blows. The stillness that pervaded the place, when Hendon found himself once more in the stocks, was in strong contrast with the insulting clamour which had prevailed there so little a while before.” (p. 173)

A Moment of Silence

Typically, a planned moment of silence is a gesture to show respect, often for someone who has passed away, or often for a tragedy where many people die. Often times they can be 60 seconds long, but really can be any length of time.

The first recorded official moment of silence for someone who died took place in Portugal on February 13, 1912. The moment was for José Maria da Silva Paranhos Júnior, the baron of Rio Branco, Brazil. It was for ten minutes. The same year many places held a moment of silence for the Titanic and Maine shipwrecks.

Detecting Lies

So what about those silences that are unplanned? Often times these are referred to as an awkward silence, dead air, or a pregnant pause. Most people have experienced these at some point in their life. Some people claim that these silences often happen exactly 20 minutes after the hour (6:20, 2:20, etc.)

There are two different types of susperstitious reasons people claim as the reason for why this happens. The first is that some people believe that angels are singing, and the all humans subconsciously get silent when that is happening. Another susperstitious explanation is that since Abraham Lincoln died at 7:20, people naturally continue to observe a silence at 20 minutes after the hour. However, both of these explanations don’t have anything to support them.

There is also a more scientific explanation, though this one doesn’t really relate to the 20 minutes idea. Some people claim that our human instincts mostly revolve around silence. When we grow silent as a group, our instincts are kicking in to ensure there is no danger nearby. Once we are sure there is no threat, we continue with our conversations.

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Eight – Historical Tidbit

Our Historical Tidbit for today focuses on yet another moment in The Prince and the Pauper where Mark Twain throws out a reference and does not include any context whatsoever. Today’s Historical Tidbit is about…


Keep reading or watch the video below to learn more.

Edward finds out that he was going to be whipped for speaking out on Miles’s behalf. The paragraph excerpt below breaks down what is going through his mind in that moment.

“The King was seized.  He did not even struggle, so paralysed was he with the mere thought of the monstrous outrage that was proposed to be inflicted upon his sacred person.  History was already defiled with the record of the scourging of an English king with whips—it was an intolerable reflection that he must furnish a duplicate of that shameful page.”  (p. 172)

So who was the king who was whipped in the past? King Henry II

Who was Henry II?

  • Great grandson of William the Conqueror
  • Father of Richard the Lionheart and King John
  • Duke of Normandy by age 18
  • Became king at age 21
  • Had many disputes with King Louis VII of France
    • Including marrying his ex-wife
  • Massively reconstructed royal government 
  • Changed the relationship between the church and monarchy
  • Makes Thomas Becket (his chancellor) the Archbishop of Canterbury
  • The two often quarreled

Why was he whipped?

  • Henry supposedly said “someone rid me of this turbulent priest” about Becket
  • Four knights misinterpreted his words and murdered Becket
  • The pope blamed the King for Becket’s death
  • As penance for his sin, he was whipped by every Monk

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Eight – Vocabulary

Our vocab word for The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 28 focuses on a commonly-used word. It typically evokes a particular image in people’s minds. The vocab word is…


Keep reading or watch the video below see how the word ‘mob’ is used in The Prince and the Pauper.



(n.) a large and disorderly crowd of people

often bent on riotous or destructive action




  • Language of Origin: Latin
  • Mobile vulgus = “vacillating crowd”

Sentences/Additional Forms

  • Straightforward sentence: After leaving the basketball game, I lost my friend in the mob outside the arena.
  • Sentence from the chapter: “There sat his poor henchman in the degrading stocks, the sport and butt of a dirty mob…” (p. 171)
  • Other forms: mob (v.), mobbish (adj.)

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Seven – Current Event

In Chapter 27 of The Prince and the Pauper, Edward really comes to the realization that the laws of England are cruel. He experiences this first-hand and then vows to go back and make changes when he is finally back on the throne. In the Chapter 27 Current Event, we explore a story of another boss who has learned the truth behind his company’s policies…


Keep reading or watch the video below to find out more.

Reference in The Prince and the Pauper

“ The King’s eye burned with passion.  He said—

‘None believe in me—neither wilt thou.  But no matter—within the compass of a month thou shalt be free; and more, the laws that have dishonoured thee, and shamed the English name, shall be swept from the statute books.  The world is made wrong; kings should go to school to their own laws, at times, and so learn mercy.’ ” (p. 170)

Here we see Edward reflecting on his experience meeting prisoners in and English prison.

Who is Mark Taylor?

  • Managing Director of Pickfords, Britain’s largest and oldest removal and storage company (around for over 400 years)
  • Mark started as a trainee in 1986
  • Wasn’t highly educated
  • Now a millionaire
  • Decided to go undercover to find why it’s hard to recruit Pickfords staff

What happened?

  • Disguised himself as “Dave”
  • Discovers the brutal living conditions some of his employees face when working overnight jobs for his company
  • He also discovers one of his teams had been relocated and they were working out of a shipping container

So what does he do about it?

  • Hundreds of thousands of children may have gone missing in the last 40 years
  • He said: “This experience has taught me we need to have a better level of pay and give them a direct career path. It’s not just about the money it’s about praising people, listening, they know they’re being looked out for.”
  • He vowed to make some major changes
    • Invest money for a company-wide pay increase
    • He will increase night out allowance
    • Gives check to some individual workers

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Seven – Historical Tidbit

Our Historical Tidbit for today focuses on one of the saddest moments in The Prince and the Pauper. Two women in the story suffer a tragic fate because of their religion. Today’s Historical Tidbit is about…


Keep reading or watch the video below to learn more.

While Edward is serving time in prison, he meets a number of different prisoners and finds himself moved by their stories. Among the prisoners he meets are two women.

He asked them why they were in prison, and when they said they were Baptists, he smiled, and inquired—

‘Is that a crime to be shut up for in a prison?  Now I grieve, for I shall lose ye—they will not keep ye long for such a little thing.’

They did not answer; and something in their faces made him uneasy. He said, eagerly—

‘You do not speak; be good to me, and tell me—there will be no other punishment?  Prithee tell me there is no fear of that.’

In the centre of the court stood two women, chained to posts.  A glance showed the King that these were his good friends.”  (p. 166-167) 

Heresy in Tudor England

  • Heresy – belief contrary to a particular religion
  • In Tudor England, the official religion changed often
  • Those who did not follow the current religion were charged with both heresy and treason

How the Tudors dealt with Heresy

  • Henry VIII (Catholic > Protestant) – Many were executed for heresy/treason during Henry VIII’s reign
  • Edward VI (Protestant) – There were only two executions for heresy
  • Mary I (Catholic) – 283 people were burned at the stake for heresy
  • Elizabeth I (Protestant) – 4 Catholics put to death as heretics; 250 Catholics executed for treason

Punishments for Heresy Over Time

  • Pilgrimage
  • Whipping
  • Being burned at the stake
  • Torture
  • Others

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twenty-Seven – Vocabulary

Our vocab words for The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 27 focuses on a collection of old-fashioned words that we don’t really use any more, but that are really fun to say!. The vocab words are…


Keep reading or watch the video below see how these words are used in The Prince and the Pauper.


Sentences/Additional Forms

  • Straightforward sentence: Whither are you going to school next year?
  • Sentence from the chapter: “Now and then a wintry wind shivered through the place and sent the snow eddying hither and thither” (p. 167)
  • Other forms: whence = from where; hence = from here; thence = from there

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