Three young knights defend their castle from “a red-and-white knight and eight dragons. Oh dear!”
Santa travels back in time to a fanciful medieval Europe with knights, lords, and castles in this clever parody of “The Night Before Christmas.” The text unfolds in pitch-perfect rhymes that follow the basic pattern of the classic poem, with the addition of witty wordplay incorporated into speech balloons and in signs, lists, and banners on the castle walls. The three knights are named Brave Knight, Polite Knight, and Silent Knight, each with a distinct, appropriate personality. When Santa arrives to deliver gifts to the castle, the knights see him as an intruder and try to repel his advances. Santa is just as determined as the knights to succeed in his own mission. He flings his presents and holiday decorations into the castle with an evergreen-tree catapult, which the knights then appropriate for the castle’s Christmas tree. Digitally produced illustrations in deep jewel tones successfully bring to life the complex physical world of the castle and skillfully meet the logistical challenges of the knights’ battle of airborne gifts with Santa. There’s an excellent interplay between the amusing illustrations and the polished text, with lots of clever jokes for readers to discover in the art.
These knights know how to keep the castle safe and the readers entertained. (Picture book. 4-8)