Review: The Knights Before Christmas

The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub Scott Magoon 9780805099324 image copy 2

About the Book

Title: The Knights Before Christmas | Author: Joan Holub | Illustrator: Scott Magoon | Publication Date: September 8, 2015 | Publisher: Macmillan / Henry Holt | Pages: 32 | Recommended Ages: 4 to 8

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Book Description:

‘Twas December 24th, and three brave 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 this unknown invader (Santa Claus!), a red and white knight with a fleet of dragons . . .

But nothing would stop
their white-whiskered foe.
No matter their efforts,
he just would not go!

This parody of Clement Clarke Moore’s well-known poem ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas is kid-friendly, clever, and just plain silly. Sure to become a holiday classic of a different kind!


Sneak Peek

The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub Scott Magoon

The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub Scott Magoon pages 12

The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub Scott Magoon page 26 image


The Buzz About the Book

“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”~ Kirkus Reviews

“A royal romp of holiday pratfalls and punnery. Yule love it!” ~ Tom Lichtenheld, bestselling illustrator of Goodnight, Goodnight Construction Site

“A royal delight of a book! Sure to become a favorite holiday read-aloud in every household throughout the land!” ~ Judy Schachner, creator of the bestselling Skippyjon Jones

“A great premise…Magoon’s illustrations are vibrant and fun…!” ~ Publishers Weekly

“This rousing, ridiculous medieval “Night Before Christmas” parody jingles with castle- and holiday wordplay. Cheeky digital illustrations brim with good cheer.” ~ Horn Book



The Skinny

Three Knights are tasked with protecting the castle. On Christmas Eve an invader in a red coat comes calling. The Knights battle fiercely to keep out this redcoat with a jolly jaunt and in the end enjoy the spoils of war.

The Players

Brave Night (the redhead)

Polite Knight (the blonde)

Silent Knight (the one in full Knight gear – aka the brunette)

The Quote

Marauders: Take Baths! 

Go fah la la la la la far away! 

Highs and Lows

  • The parody. The books is parodied after ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas and it does a spot-on job in mimicking it.
  • The Knights. They are ding-a-lings and officially called Knights of the Iron Underwear. There’s even a pair on the castle drawbridge!
  • The battle. The Knights’ consternation over protecting the castle is strong. They try all that they know to keep the invader Santa out, but Santa is a man on a mission: to deliver some gifts to three good Knights.
  • The humor. I could not stop cracking up at all of the parodies or puns I saw throughout the book. It’s filled with them!
  • Santa dancing. There is nothing better than seeing Santa defy the Knights and dancing in ice skates.

The Take-Away

I loved the humor in this book. It was clearly designed with both children and adults in mind, as there might be some things younger readers might not pick up on. It is still hilarious. I don’t think it could have been illustrated any better.

Recommendation – Buy, Borrow or Skip? 

You definitely have to buy this book! It is one to keep around for years to come, and pull out and enjoy each Christmas season.


About the Author: Joan Holub

The Knights Before Christmas Joan Holub SIBA 2015 imageJoan Holub is the author of 140+ books for children including the acclaimed picture books Little Red Writing, The Knights Before Christmas, and Mighty Dads, a New York Times bestseller. Joan co-authors (with Suzanne Williams) three series: Goddess Girls (ages 8-12, Greek mythology with a middle school twist), Grimmtastic Girls (for ages 8-12, fairy tale adventure with a middle school twist), and Heroes in Training (ages 6-11, Greek mythology adventure chapter books). Watch for her upcoming chapter book, What Was Woodstock?, and her board book, This Little President, both available in early 2016!


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3 thoughts on “Review: The Knights Before Christmas

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