Monday, September 22, 2008

Get Down! Boogie Knights by Lisa Wheeler

It's midnight
And the moonlight's shining
Down upon the moors.
While the rascals
In the castle
Jangle chains and rattle doors.

Seven sleeping, never seeing.
Creeps are creeping
Down the hall.
Down the staircase,
Making their way
To the Madcap Monster Ball.

Seven armored knights, "upstairs, unawares..." are sleeping through their watch, while below a collection of "werewolves hustling, zombies bustling, from their coffins, crypts, and vaults" join mummies doing the mambo, serpents doing the samba and waltzing wicked witches, all boogieing down in the main hall.

With a banshee as the lead singer, the jam session grows so loud that it awakens the sleeping prince, who, in his cute little striped jammies, with miniature crown askew, stumbles out of his chamber, teddy and candlestick drooping in hand, to see what's going on. As the bogeys shake their booties, even the painting of a deceased princess comes alive to the sound of the intriguing beat, and she floats down to seek a partner at the rockin' rave.

But the ghostly princess is not the only one aroused by the swingin' sounds. Among the castle's snoozing guardians, first Sir Veillance ("he just can't wait/To investigate"), and then "tough" Sir Loin ("his honor is at stake"), "big" Sir Prize, and "wide" Sir Round come downstairs to protect but remain to party. Sir Cumference "circles round" to defend but, hearing the beat, stays to do the twist. Waking to a monster conga line below in the hall, the castle's remaining protectors wake to the irresistible sounds:

Forced, Sir Ender just gives in.
Lone Sir Vivor (that's his twin)
Feels the music in his soul,
Kicks up his heels,

With all seven of his knightly defenders dancing, the little prince drops his bear and candle, and grabbing the ghost princess by the hand, joins the go-go goblins and jumps into the jiving jamboree to dance until dawn.

At last the weary warriors climb back to their watchtower, and as "seven sleepers close their peepers," the princess returns to her picture frame with a last look at the little prince toddling off to his bed with a smile as she wishes him a fond "NIGHTY KNIGHT."

In their brand-new Boogie Knights (Richard Jackson Books (Atheneum Hardcover)) author Lisa Wheeler (Sailor Moo: Cow at Sea (Golden Kite Honors (Awards)), Seadogs: An Epic Ocean Operetta) and illustrator Mark Siegel have a unique semi-scary story which will work like a charm on a variety of levels of reader/listeners. Wheeler's rhyming plot line and Siegel's humorous drawings, a marriage made in picture-book heaven, will engage the youngest listeners, while the clever puns and double entendres paired with the sophisticated layered humor of the illustrations will charm elementary readers--and even adults, who (one hopes) will be the only ones who fully "get" the title's mischievous reference. It's a happy howliday pun-orama fun-orama which will merit many return engagements at this devilishly delightful discotheque.

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