NEW! – Pontes Books Podcast

Many people prefer the medium of podcasts to videos, since it allows for more flexibility since you can listen to it while out and about. Even though our Youtube videos tied to our blog entries are pretty short, we are now offering the audio from those videos in podcast format!

Where can you find the podcasts?

You might have noticed that on our previous blog posts that relate to The Prince and the Pauper, there is now a button near the top of the page that takes you to Spotify. That is one way to access our podcasts. The button linking to Spotify looks like this:

In addition to linking directly from our blog posts, you can also go to our page on Anchor (by Spotify) by going here. This page links directly to Spotify, lists all of our current and previous podcasts, and also contains a place to message us. It also lists all the other places where our podcast can be found.

Essentially our podcast can be found anywhere where you listen to podcasts. Just search for “Pontes Books” and then subscribe or follow to get alerts every time we release a new episode.

Will the podcasts expand to cover more content in the future?

Right now episodes release twice a week, in conjunction with our podcasts and Youtube videos (on Wednesdays and Saturdays). The only content featured in our podcasts is the audio pulled from our Youtube videos that are tied to our blog posts. But do we have any plans to expand our podcast to include more content that goes beyond our published books? Possibly! Right now we haven’t ruled it out, but currently the focus is to publish more bridge and parallel text versions of novels. The possiblities for the future are endless though!

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twelve – Fun Fact

What do you think of when you hear the word knight? Most people picture a suit of armor or maybe jousting. This image may have been accurate at one point, but it’s fairly outdated now. Today our Fun Fact for The Prince and the Pauper for Chapter 12 focuses on…


Keep reading or watch the video for more information on the process of becoming a night, and some of the changes it’s undergone over time.

Reference in The Prince and the Pauper

“‘Rise, Sir Miles Hendon, Knight,” said the King, gravely—giving the accolade with Hendon’s sword—“rise, and seat thyself. Thy petition is granted. Whilst England remains, and the crown continues, the privilege shall not lapse.’” (p. 68)

In this scene, Edward decides to reward Miles for all that he has done to help him so far. In addition to granting him the privilige to sit in the presence of the king, he also makes him a knight.

How did one become a knight?

Step 1: Being a page

  • From age 7-10 to 13
  • Become familiar with horses, hunting, and the use of mock weapons
  • Probably sons of knights
  • Young nobles most likely sent to royal court for this training
  • Others sent to the local castle

Step 2: Being a squire

  • From age 14 to 18-21
  • Assist a full-knight, learn to use the weapons and armor, improve education (code of chivalry)
  • Clean weapons, polish armor, look after horses, etc. for a the real knight he was helping
  • Learned music, dance, reading/writing in Latin and French, also hunting wild animals and falconry

Step 3: A Knighting (Dubbing) Ceremony

  • Age 18-21
  • Performed by another knight
  • Involved an official ceremony
  • His sword would be blessed by a priest
  • The squire would kneel before the knight/king giving the honor
  • Tapped on the shoulders or neck with the hand or sword

Knights in Tudor Times

  • The Order of the Garter (Most prestigious order of chivalry (knights) at the English court)
  • Included the king, prince of Wales, and 24 companions
  • Members could nominate people
  • The king would appoint new knights (installation)
  • There used to be Ladies of the Garter (until 1488)

Knights Today

  • Order of the British Empire
  • Queen chooses not to elect her own knights
  • Chosen by the cabinet, appointed by the Queen twice a year
  • Must be recommended for doing something good for the Commonwealth of Nations
  • Modern knights: Lewis Hamilton, Sean Connery, Robert Redford, Bill Gates, Clint Eastwood, Michael Caine, Bob Hope, Paul McCartney, Patrick Stewart, Ronald Reagan, Elton John, Bono, George H.W. Bush and many more!

Knights in Literature/Film

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twelve – Historical Tidbit

The Historical Tidbit for Chapter 12 of The Prince and the Pauper is one that pretty much everyone is familiar with. Most people hear this term starting at a very young age through the form of a children’s nursery rhyme. Today’s Historical Tidbit is….


Keep reading or watch the video below to explore more about this well-known landmark in London.

In Chapter 12, Miles and Edward are heading to the place where Miles is staying, which happens to be on London Bridge. Mark Twain then gives a lengthy description of the Bridge. Part of his description is featured below:

“Our friends threaded their way slowly through the throngs upon the bridge. This structure, which had stood for six hundred years, and had been a noisy and populous thoroughfare all that time, was a curious affair, for a closely packed rank of stores and shops, with family quarters overhead, stretched along both sides of it, from one bank of the river to the other: The Bridge was a sort of town to itself; it had its inn, its beer-houses, its bakeries, its haberdasheries, its food markets, its manufacturing industries, and even its church. It looked upon the two neighbours which it linked together—London and Southwark—as being well enough as suburbs, but not otherwise particularly important.” (p. 59)

Original Bridge (Roman)

  • Roman crossing in 50 AD
  • Probably destroyed by Boudicca (Queen of British Celtic Iceni tribe)
  • Would have been later rebuilt
  • Roman rule ended in the early 5th century
  • This bridge would have fallen into disrepair

Saxon and Norman Bridge

  • Æthelred the Unready
  • Built bridge late 10th century
  • Viking leader Olaf Haraldsson pulled it down in 1014
  • Saxon bridge went up
  • King William rebuilt in 1066
  • Built at the same time as the Tower of London
  • Destroyed by a tornado and later a fire (rebuilt)

Medieval Bridge (Old London Bridge)

  • “Old” Medieval bridge in 1209 (King John’s reign)
  • Made of stone with 19 narrow arches
  • Included a chapel (dedicated to Thomas Becket)
  • Crumbled in 1281, 1309, 1425, and 1437
  • Overall lasted from 1209 to 1831, with repairs
  • Northern gatehouse would display heads on spikes (later moved to southern end)
  • Had many buildings (some as much as 7 stories)
  • Some remnants still remain

New London Bridge

  • Designed by John Rennie, built by his son
  • Made of stone, with five arches and four piers
  • Opened August 1831
  • It began to sink
  • It was put up for sale
  • Purchased by Robert P.
  • McCulloch and was moved to Lake Havasu City, AZ

London Bridge Today

  • Completed in 1972
  • Still made of stone with arches
  • Used a cantilever method for construction
  • Represented a major post-World War II innovation

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Twelve – Vocabulary

Were you born into a situation where you were expected to behave a certain way just because of who your family was? Many of us have the opportunity to form our own reputations throughout our lives, rather than having one thrust upon us when we were born. This is not, and has never been, the case for royals. Today our vocab word for The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 12 is…


The word ‘dignity’ can be used in many different ways. Keep reading or watch the video below to dive into this word as it is used in The Prince and the Pauper.



(n) formal seriousness
(n) the state of being worthy/honored


Often applied to those with high office or rank




  • Language of Origin: Old French
  • “dignite” meaning dignity, privilege, honor
  • Language of Origin: Latin
  • “dignitatem” (nominative “dignitas”) meaning worthiness
  • “dignus” meaning worth (n.), worthy, proper, fitting

Sentences/Additional Forms

  • Straightforward sentence: I believe in the dignity of all people.
  • Sentence from the chapter: “While the King ate, the rigour of his royal dignity relaxed a little, and with his growing contentment came a desire to talk. ” (p. 64)
  • Other forms: dignitary (n)

But wait, there’s more!

Idioms usings ‘Dignity’

  • Stand on (one’s) dignity
    • Keep composure even when faced with challenges
  • Beneath (one’s) dignity
    • Used to describe an action that seems inappropriate for someone to do

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The Prince and the Pauper Pontes Versions – Lexile Text Measures

We know that one of the most difficult things about buying books from Pontes Books is deciding which version to go with. In order to help with this process, we have partnered with MetaMetrics to determine the Lexile text measures for the original and three bridge versions of The Prince and the Pauper.

What are Lexile Measures?

The Lexile Framework® for Reading is a scientific approach to reading and text measurement. There are two Lexile® measures: the Lexile reader measure and the Lexile text measure. A Lexile reader measure represents a person’s reading ability on the Lexile scale. A Lexile text measure represents a text’s difficulty level on the Lexile scale. When used together, they can help a reader choose a book or other reading material that is at an appropriate difficulty level.

How can you find the Lexile Text Measures of books?

Certain book databases will give the Lexile text measure along with other leveling systems. It is also possible to use the Lexile “Find a Book” tool.

How can you find out a reader’s Lexile measure?

This part is a little trickier. Many standardized assessments give Lexile reader measures along with the assessment scores. Students could look at score reports or ask their teacher what their measure is. People who are not in school might not have a way of figuring out their measure.

Here are some average Lexile student measures by grade (from

Grade25th Percentile (End of Year)75th Percentile (End of Year)

What are the Lexile text measures for the Pontes Books versions?

  • Red Version (original) – 1070L
  • Yellow Bridge Version – 1020L
  • Blue Bridge Version – 790L
  • Pink Bridge Version – 750L

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Eleven – Current Event

Royals, especially in the time of King Henry VIII (and Edward VI), had seemingly unlimited power. They were able to make decisions without consulting anyone else if they wanted. But do any of these privileges translate to modern-day? Today we explore a power that both ancient kings and modern-day presidents (at least in the United States) have in common…


At the end of Chapter 11, Tom becomes the acting King. His first act is to release the Duke of Norfolk so that he will no longer be killed. Is this something that a president in the United States would have the ability to do as well? Keep reading or watch the video below to see what I found out.

Reference in The Prince and the Pauper

“Tom responded, in a strong, earnest voice, and with great animation—
‘Then shall the king’s law be law of mercy, from this day, and never more be law of blood! Up from thy knees and away! To the Tower, and say the King decrees the Duke of Norfolk shall not die!’” (p. 58)

What gives the president the power to pardon?

  • In the U.S. Constitution (Article II, Section 2, Clause 1)
  • The president “shall have Power to grant Reprieves and Pardons for Offenses against the United States, except in Cases of Impeachment”
  • Can only be issued for federal crimes (full pardon, amnesty, commutation, remit fines/forfeitures, issue reprieve)

Pardons from Obama

  • December 19, 2016
  • President Barack Obama pardoned 78 people
  • Also shortened the sentences of 153 others
  • Highest number of individual clemencies in one day (make punishment less harsh)
  • Focused mostly on shortening sentences for those in prison for drug crimes

Pardons from Trump

  • January 19, 2021
  • President Donald Trump pardoned 74 people
  • One less than an hour before President Joe Biden was sworn in
  • Included:
    • Stephen Bannon (former white house chief strategist)- wire fraud and money laundering
    • Lil Wayne (rapper) – federal weapons charge

Clemency Statistics, by president

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Eleven – Historical Tidbit

Chapter 11 of The Prince and the Pauper contains a very brief reference to two giants watching over a feast. It’s a brief reference, and was something that I didn’t understand the first few times I read it. Finally I decided to look into it. Today’s Historical Tidbit focuses on….


Keep reading or watch the video below to explore more about these unknown (at least to some) names.

In Chapter 11, Tom is enjoying himself at a great feast. Meanwhile, Edward is stuck outside the palace trying to get inside and reclaim his thrown. While the narrator is describing the scene at the feast, we encounter the following quote:

“At a lower table the Court grandees and other guests of noble degree were seated, with the magnates of the city; the commoners took places at a multitude of tables on the main floor of the hall. From their lofty vantage-ground the giants Gog and Magog, the ancient guardians of the city, contemplated the spectacle below them with eyes grown familiar to it in forgotten generations.” (p. 54)

Who were Gog and Magog?

There are many different myths and legends that involve Gog and Magog, but I’m going to focus on the ones that relate them being the guardians of London. Gog and Magog were two monstruous giants. Sometimes they are referred to as Gogmagog and Corineus.

As the story goes, Diocletian (a Roman emperor) had 33 wicked daughters. They were kicked out of Rome and were sent to an island called Albion. This island later would be called “Britain”.

Why did they become London’s Guardians?

As the story goes, Brutus (who some claim the island “Britain” was later named after) was a Trojan exile. He happened to land on the same island where the 33 wicked daughters had been sent. He was also the founder of “New Troy” which is what we now know as London. As some versions of the story go, Gog and Magog were two offspring of these wicked daughters. Brutus tamed them by chaining them outside his palace. That palace later became Guildhall, the location of this and many other great feasts in The Prince and the Pauper.

The Statues of Gog and Magog in Guildhall

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Eleven – Vocabulary

Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo? We all know the saying, but do we all know what it actually means? The vocab word for The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 11 is…


Though The Prince and the Pauper is not written by William Shakespeare, it is set fairly close to the time where Shakespeare was alive. Therefore, we see Elizabethan language pop up in the story, particularly in the dialogue. We’ve already focused on some of those language patterns, but ‘wherefore’ deserved it’s own post, considering how often people mistake its meaning. Keep reading or watch the video below to find out more!



(adv) for what reason or purpose

Often mistaken for “where”
Not really used modern-day




  • Language of Origin: Middle English
  • “hwarfore” = where (what) + for

Sentences/Additional Forms

  • Straightforward sentence: Wherefore did you go there?
  • Sentence from the chapter: “…above it rose many a slender spire into the sky, incrusted with sparkling lights, wherefore in their remoteness they seemed like jewelled lances thrust aloft…” (p. 54)
  • Other forms: N/A

There are many other where the word “where” has a preposition tacked on the end (whereabouts, whereas, whereat, whereon, whereof, etc.) – in most cases the word “where” actually means “what” or “which” in these compounds.

But wait, there’s more!

“Romeo, Romeo, wherefore art thou Romeo?”

  • Not “Where are you Romeo?” but rather “WHY are you Romeo?”
  • Juliet is asking WHY he has the name that he does (why is he a Montague), because under other circumstances, they could have been happily together.

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NEW PRODUCTS: Parallel Texts for Classic Short Stories

Are you intersted in trying out a parallel text without committing to a whole novel? You’re in luck! In addition to continuing to develop our bridge and parallel text versions of Classic novels, we have been working on developing parallel texts for Classic short stories. They have been added to our product page. (Check out our previous blog post outlining methods for reading a parallel text.) Here are the recently-added texts:

The Tell-Tale Heart

“The Tell-Tale Heart” by Edgar Allan Poe is a well-known horror short story. The story takes us inside the mind of a madman as he attempts to convince us of how sane (and even ingenious) he actually is. This is a great short story to choose if you want one that exemplifies an unreliable narrator, suspense, or literary elements like onomatopoeia and repetition.

Click here to view the product

Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment

“Dr. Heidegger’s Experiment” by Nathaniel Hawthorne falls more into the science fiction realm. Dr. Heidegger is known for his crazy experiments, and he invites a few friends to participate in his most recent experiment. This experiment gives them the opportunity to relive their past in a way, but will they still make the same mistakes that they made in their youth over again? This story is great for focusing on theme, foreshadowing, and symbolism.

Click here to view product

The Monkey’s Paw

“The Monkey’s Paw” by W.W. Jacobs could be considered more of a horror-fantasy story. In the story, a family acquires a monkey’s paw, which supposedly grants three wishes. But these wishes come at a great cost. This story would be a great pick if you want to focus on inferring, predicting, and cause-and-effect. Plus, fun fact, there is an allusion to it (technically more than one) in the movie Wonder Woman 1984.

Click here to view product

Click below and enter your email to get a FREE parallel text version of one of the short stories listed above!

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The Prince and the Pauper – Chapter Ten – Fun Fact

Why do we move our hand when we touch a hot stove? Why do we throw up our hand when something is thrown in our direction? The Fun Fact that we explore for The Prince and the Pauper Chapter 10 focuses on…


In Chapter 10, Mrs. Canty develops a test to check whether or not the boy in her house is truly her son. It involves testing a long-term reflex that she seen Tom perform over and over again. This naturally led us to wonder, how those reflexes are formed. Keep reading or watch the video for more information on reflexes.

Reference in The Prince and the Pauper

“‘Since that day, when he was little, that the powder burst in his face, he hath never been startled of a sudden out of his dreams or out of his thinkings, but he hath cast his hand before his eyes, even as he did that day; and not as others would do it, with the palm inward, but always with the palm turned outward—I have seen it a hundred times, and it hath never varied nor ever failed. Yes, I shall soon know, now!’” (p. 49)

Mrs. Canty tries to wake “Tom” a number of times throughout to the evening to carry out this test. Obviously, as it is not Tom, he never exhibits the reflex she is looking for. This causes her great distress.

What are reflexes?

Reflexes are involuntary actions your body does in response for something. We are born with many of them, or they develop naturally as we age. Many of those reflexes involve protective movements, such as removing a hand from a hot stove, blinking, and raising an arm if something is thrown at you. Many reflexes start at the muscle or skin and go to the spinal cord.

Our Earliest Reflexes

  • Rooting reflex – turning head and opening mouth to find source of milk 
  • Suck reflex – when the roof of a baby’s mouth is touched, they begin to suck 
  • Moro reflex – “startle reflex”
  • Tonic neck reflex – “fencing position”
  • Grasp reflex – closing fingers
  • Stepping reflex – “walking/dance reflex”

What makes you flinch?

All animals flinch when they feel threatened. In tests on monkeys, they have studied how the brain reacts when they flinched. They found that the most active part of the brain is a “polysensory zone”. The experiment was conducted using mild puffs of air at the monkey’s faces. The monkeys were also given drugs that either increased or decreased brain activity in the sensory zones.

There were a few findings. First they found that there were two phases to flinching. Part one was the initial startled reaction. Part two was a longer defensive response. The drugs that reduced brain activity only affected the second part of the flinch. This shows that the polysensory zone affects the muscle response to a stimuli. And this area is responsible for reacting to, or flinching at, objects suddenly approaching the body.

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