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Punch With Judy Hardcover – April 1, 1993

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 and up
  • Hardcover: 167 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster (Juv); 1st edition (April 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0027077551
  • ISBN-13: 978-0027077551
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6.1 x 0.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #4,360,942 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

"One raw day in 1870," the owner of a touring medicine show takes in an eight-year-old orphan as "company servant" and dubs him Punch, a whimsical tribute to his beloved daughter, Judy. Four years later, the owner is dead, and a sanctimonious clergyman in a neighboring village calls upon the sheriff to arrest the showfolk: laughter, claims Parson Cuthwhip, "is the voice of the devil." Following the troupe's unsuccessful run for the state border, a bet is waged: if they can make the sheriff laugh, their freedom is assured. Avi ( The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle ) creates a dark, eerie world as backdrop for his somber narrative; while the story starts slowly, it eventually becomes an absorbing tale centered around Punch's unrequited love for Judy. This beleaguered protagonist engenders such sympathy that readers will cheer him on through his many predicaments. Lisker's stark black-and-white spot illustrations suit the novel's melancholy tone. Ages 11-14.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-7-- Avi's style here doesn't work well, and this offering won't be among his popular works. After the Civil War, a young street performer is taken in by a traveling showman with an acrobatic wife (sort of a show biz Mr. and Mrs. Macawber), their daughter Judy, and an assortment of ragtag entertainers. The boy, dubbed Punch, becomes general servant to the rest, tries to please everyone, but is constantly abused and berated. When her father dies and her mother loses touch with reality, Judy tries to run the operation. As the troupe struggles to survive, Punch tries to establish himself. He also struggles with his love for Judy, a futile crush, he being 12 years old and she old enough to marry. As in a Punch and Judy show or commedia dell'arte, the tale is cast with stock characters. There is a cruel streak present here that's made all the more chilling because the voice is so objective, so removed from any involvement, any sense of a warm presence. Punch, as is his puppet forbear, is pounded on, emotionally and, finally, physically. Illustrated with black-and-white heavy ink drawings in a naive style, this book keeps readers at a distance. Perhaps the aimlessness of the performers is a metaphor for the state of the country post-war. Other than that, there's little sense of time or place, and events occur without much preparation. There is minimal character development, and in spite of the stated action and conflict, there is no tension. Instead, the book is a stark outline of a story within a stylistic exercise. Are readers expected to provide the human context? If so, it seems likely that few will be interested. --Sally Margolis, Deerfield Public Library, IL
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc.

More About the Author

More info at and
Avi is part of a family of writers extending back into the 19th century. Born in 1937 and raised in New York City, Avi was educated in local schools, before going to the Midwest and then back to NYC to complete his education. Starting out as a playwright--while working for many years as a librarian--he began writing books for young people when the first of his kids came along.

His first book was Things That Sometimes Happen, published in 1970, and recently reissued. Since then he has published seventy books. Winner of many awards, including the 2003 Newbery award for Crispin: the Cross of Lead (Hyperion), two Newbery Honors, two Horn Book awards, and an O'Dell award, as well as many children's choice awards, he frequently travels to schools around the country to talk to his readers.

Among his most popular books are Crispin: The Cross of Lead, The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, Nothing but the Truth, the Poppy books, Midnight Magic, and The Fighting Ground.

In 2008 he published The Seer of Shadows (HarperCollins), A Beginning a Muddle and an End (Harcourt), Hard Gold (Hyperion) and Not Seeing is Believing, a one-act play in the collection, Acting Out (Simon and Schuster). Crispin: the End of Time, the third in the Newbery Award-winning series, was published in 2010. City of Orphans was released in 2011, receiving a number of starred reviews. Learn more at Follow Avi on Facebook,, where he shares an inside look at his writing process.

Avi lives in Denver, Colorado, with his wife and family.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

By Chris Hooker on June 11, 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I think this book was lost in the shuffle of other great books by Avi. If you like Avi stories with their hint if mystery, this one will not disappoint.
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By PicsesGrl on August 16, 2003
Format: Paperback
I read this book way back in seventh grade and I remember really liking it. In fact, it was the first Avi book I really enjoyed. Confessions of Charlotte Doyle was forced on us in sixth grade and I thought I'd never go back to Avi again. But Punch with Judy restored my faith.
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on December 19, 2001
Format: Paperback
A fabulous Book! The best I've ever read!
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