cover image Boogie Knights

Boogie Knights

Lisa Wheeler, , illus. by Mark Siegel. . Atheneum/Jackson, $16.99 (0pp) ISBN 978-0-689-87639-4

It's midnight and all the mischievous spirits that haunt the castle are in a partying mood: “Wizards wiggle!/ Ghostlings giggle!/ Demons do their thing!” As the party progresses, seven knights (whose names include Sir Loin and Sir Prize) find themselves unable to resist the siren call to get jiggy. Wheeler and Siegel (who previously collaborated on Seadogs ) have created a entire population of lively characters, from “go-go goblins” to mummies and serpents that mambo and samba. In a pictorial subplot, two reader surrogates—a little prince who nervously spies on the action and a winsome ghost princess who emerges from a painting—find each other and become dance partners. Siegel's artistic versatility is equally impressive and fun: his drawings range from doodled portraits that seem ripped from a sketchpad to handsome chiaroscuro vignettes that slyly spoof the gothic aesthetic. A freewheeling rhyme scheme and judicious use of color amp up the party atmosphere, though the text and visual elements don't always come together cohesively and can compete to be a focal point. Still, this romp is a cut abovestandard Halloween fare. Ages 4–8. (Aug.)