It’s the middle of the night and the little prince in the castle can’t sleep. To his surprise, when he creeps downstairs there’s quite a party going on. All the ghosts, zombies, witches, werewolves, and other such strange creatures are downstairs having a raucous dance. As the prince watches from his hiding place, the knights standing in their armor wake one by one and go to see what the problem is, and invariably each are sucked into the rhythm of the night and join the party. Even the princess in a picture on the wall comes out to see what’s going on and keep the prince company where he’s hiding and watching the activity.
One thing I’ve learned about my three-year-old is that he loves monsters, but he doesn’t like scary-looking monsters. After his enjoyment of Where the Wild Things Are, I followed up with a round of Goodnight Goon, which proved to be too much for him. So, back to closer to the style of the former, I selected Boogie Knights on a recent library excursion. All of these devilish ghouls and witches and whatnots are designed with the younger reader in mind, having more of a “friendly” design. In the end, the little prince in the story even gets over his fear and joins in the dancing, having lots of fun with the denizens of the dark. My son certainly loved the monsters in this one, and happily joined in a bit of “wiggle dancing” on every page.
The illustrations themselves are meant to depict night time in a castle, so they are all done in pretty muted colors. This is only a problem with children who are still at the age that they must have color to catch their attention and certainly wasn’t a drawback for my three-year-old. Each illustration appears to have been done with colored pencil, adding nice texture into the drab atmosphere and showing the details of each picture well.
The thing I liked most about the text was the opportunity for interaction throughout the story. I mentioned “wiggle dancing” above, which basically means just wiggling from the waist up whenever we came to some dancing in the story. While it may seem silly, my particular youngster sure enjoyed it. Other than that, there is some opportunity to reinforce counting and very basic subtraction as each knight wakes on by one, leaving X still standing in the hall, asleep, at the end of each page.
Overall, my son and I both really enjoyed this book. It’s a fun story that moves along quickly, introducing new characters at every page or every other page. The youngest children may not get the humor in some of the names of the knights (Sir Round, Sir Prize, Sir Vivor, etc.), but as they get a bit older they may really enjoy that as well. This book worked very well for my three-year-old, but is of a level to be potentially interesting to kids up to age six or seven. If you have a monster-loving child at home, this is an excellent addition to their book collection.