Siegel’s tinted charcoal-and-pencil illustrations are charming and fun, and the energetic design is as movin’ and groovin’ as a Madcap Monster Ball should be. (Picture book. 4-8)
Copyright 2008 Kirkus Reviews, LLC Used with permission
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 surrogatesa little prince who nervously spies on the action and a winsome ghost princess who emerges from a paintingfind 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.)
Copyright 2008 Publishers Weekly, Used with permission.
Gr 1-5 There's a shindig brewing at the castle one night, as werewolves, zombies, mummies, and all manner of creepy characters make their way through silent halls to the Madcap Monster Ball. The stronghold's seven sibling knights, posed in full armor in an impressive row, supposedly stand guard, but are actually fast asleep. One by one, each warrior is stirred by the commotion and leaves his post to check out its cause-only to find himself joining in the fun and dancing the night away. Wheeler's rhythmic text is filled with taut rhymes, alliteration, and vivid images. The raucous verses detail the events and spirit of the upbeat party with lively zeal, while the narrative's wordplay makes it worthy of repeated readings. Puns and double entendres abound ("Forced, Sir Ender/just gives in./Lone Sir Vivor/(that's his twin)/feels the music/in his soul, /kicks up his heels]/'Let's rock 'n' roll!'"). Done in charcoal, pencil, and Photoshop, Siegel's sophisticated, graphic-novel-style artwork also demands a second look. There are plenty of visual story lines to follow as a wide-eyed young prince, anxiously clutching a candle and teddy bear, spies on the action, and a smiling portrait princess escapes from her painting to try and befriend the frightened boy. Sepia tones, splashes of color, silhouettes, and outline sketches cleverly underscore the plot elements and keep the pages interesting. Kids will eat this one up and beg for more. - Joy Fleishhacker, School Library Journal
Copyright 2008 School Library Journal, LLC Used with permission.