#792 – The Knights before Christmas by Joan Holub & Scott Magoon

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knights before christmas cover
The Knights Before Christmas
Written by Joan Holub
Illustrated by Scott Magoon
Henry Holt & Co.      9/08/2015
32 pages      Ages 4—8

’Twas December 24th, and three brave (but somewhat clueless) knights were just settling in for the night, when out on the drawbridge there arose such a clatter! The knights try everything to get rid of the unknown invader and his fleet of dragons.

“This parody of Clement Clarke Moore’s well-known poem “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (also known as “’Twas the Night before Christmas”) is silly, good fun—and full of medieval holiday cheer!” [inside jacket]


“’Twas December 24th,
And three knights ding-a-ling
were guarding the castle
For their illustrious king.”

Three knights Brave, Polite, and Silent are confronted with an intruder of the red suit variety. With a sprite “Be-ho-ho-hold!” Santa tries delivering gifts to the clueless knights. Knight Brave, afraid of tiny night crawlers, quakes in fear. Knight Polite takes out his trusty pen and writes the invader dire decrees: “Begone from Our Lawn!” The Silent Knight, tucked in bed, runs up to the tower, singing a jingle bells verse kids will appreciate.

Santa inquires as to the chimney and Knight Polite tells “the lout” castles don’t have chimneys. Santa stands his ground forcing the knights to check the king’s book. They concretely follow the rules, but Santa, using a tree as a catapult, sends the knights’ gifts flying over the castle walls. In response, the knights shoot arrows and catapult those gifts right back.

spread 2

The Knights before Christmas is a humorous take on The Night before Christmas with perfectly timed rhyming text. Talk bubbles contain often ironic and always funny words from the three knights. There are also other little snippets to entertain those who check out the whimsical details illustrator Magoon put in his brightly colored digital illustrations. Santa may have traveled back to medieval times, but his “dragons” are still reindeer, despite what the three goofy knights might believe.

Young children, especially boys, will love The Knights before Christmas. The bright illustrations will draw your eyes and the three knights will tickle your funny bone. Transforming The Night before Christmas into a knight tale, with all the medieval trappings, took the talent of two wonderful kidlit author/illustrators to successfully pull off. Holub’s rhythmic text captured Santa’s dilemma with timing, rhyming, and phrasing even Clement Moore would enjoy.

santa list spread

If looking for a unique, yet classic, story with boys in mind—and girls will love—The Knights before Christmas is the story you’re looking for. If you like humor, irony, and knightly tales, The Knights before Christmas is the story to read. And, if a witty, new Christmas picture book is on your list this year, The Knights before Christmas should be near, if not at, the top of that list. At the very least, check out the library for this inventive take on a Christmas classic.

THE KNIGHTS BEFORE CHRISTMAS. Text copyright © 2015 by Joan Holub. Illustrations copyright © 2015 by Scott Magoon. Reproduced by permission of the publisher, Henry Holt & Company, New York, NY.

Purchase The Knights before Christmas at AmazonBook DepositoryIndieBound BooksApple iBooksHenry Holt & Company.

Find The Knights before Christmas on Goodreads HERE.

Meet the author, Joan Holub, at her website:  http://www.joanholub.com/
Twitter          @JoanHolub
Meet the illustrator, Scott Magoon, at his website:  http://scottmagoon.com/
Twitter          @smagoon
Find more books at the Henry Holt & Company website:  http://henryholt.tumblr.com/
Twitter          @HenryHolt

Also by Joan Holub
Hestia the Invisible (Goddess Girls Book 18) (artist: Suzanne Williams)
Uranus and the Bubbles of Trouble (Heroes in Training) (artist: Suzanne Williams)
What Were the Salem Witch Trials? (What Was…?) (artist: Dede Putra)
Little Red Writing (artist: Melissa Sweet) [reviewed here]
—and many, many more

Also by Scott Magoon
The Nuts: Sing and Dance in Your Polka-Dot Pants (author: Eric Litwin)
Boy Who Cried Bigfoot!
Big Mean Mike (author: Michelle Knudsen) [reviewed here]
—and more

Copyright © 2015 by Sue Morris/Kid Lit Reviews. All Rights Reserved

Full Disclosure: The Knights before Christmas by Joan Holub & Scott Magoon, and received from Henry Holt & Company, is in exchange NOT for a positive review, but for an HONEST review. The opinions expressed are my own and no one else’s. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

THE KNIGHTS BEFORE CHRISTMAS by Joan Holub. Illustrations © 2015 by Scott Magoon. Used by permission of Henry Holt & Company.



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4 thoughts on “#792 – The Knights before Christmas by Joan Holub & Scott Magoon

    • I think you would really enjoy this, which I am guessing means your son would like it, too. There are lots of silly jokes that have been written into the illustrations. I had to go through the story twice to find them all. Truly a Christmas book for boys that girls will also like (at least this one did).

      Liked by 1 person

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