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The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

The Halloween Tree (original 1972; edition 2001)

by Ray Bradbury, Joseph Mugnaini (Illustrator)

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1,464455,106 (3.86)82
Title:The Halloween Tree
Authors:Ray Bradbury
Other authors:Joseph Mugnaini (Illustrator)
Info:Yearling (2001), Edition: 1st, Paperback, 160 pages
Collections:Read but unowned
Tags:read, children's

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The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury (1972)



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Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
I absolutely love this book. The atmosphere, the stories, the poetry of the writing. I re-read it every four or five years at Halloween. ( )
  magerber | Feb 22, 2016 |
Eight boys go to Pipkin's house to pick him up. It's Halloween and they're dressed in costumes and ready to go, but Pipkin doesn't feel well, so tells them to go to the big scary house in town and he'll catch up. The boys go to the house and find an enormous tree with jack o' lanterns hanging from each branch, and a strange man who offers to show them what Halloween is about. He whisks them through time, back to the Ancient Egyptians and Romans, to the Dark Ages and modern Mexico, explaining the truths behind the skeleton and mummy costumes they wear.

I don't know how much interest this story would hold for a kid, either now or when it was first published in 1972. It's meant to explain all the different cultural aspects that make up an American Halloween, but it's written by Bradbury, who I really like, so you have a lot of sorta explanations mixed in with florid language that would likely confuse a child. And he's still using all the 'golly's and 'shucks' of a story set in the 30's. As in Something Wicked This Way Comes, a great book, you have one character who is described as the best, most loved boy, the sweetest of boyhood. Bradbury romanticized boyhood to a weird degree, even to the point where he couldn't include a single girl, not even for the character dressed as a witch. Even the witch was a boy. ( )
  mstrust | Jan 21, 2016 |
Nine boys are planning on going out for Halloween.... Eight go out to pick-up their friend Pipkin, but Pipkin isn't feeling well. Normally the fastest, most engaging of the group, Pipkin urges everyone to go on to the ravine without him... saying he'll catch up. When they get to the ravine, the boys enter the darkness & come to a spooky house and a Halloween Tree.... When Pipkin arrives, he slowly disappears and in order to save him the boys must travel back in time and learn the teachings of the history of Halloween, Day of the Dead, & other rituals of Death.

The book travels through time beginning at the time of the Pyramids & Valley of the Kings, Samhain, Roman Gods, Notre Dame, and Dia de Los Muertos. There are spooks, witches, Druids, Egyptians, Mexicans, Romans, and Christians who all have a historical relation to the costume each boy is wearing. The honoring rituals of each time period is explained so well, I could actually visualize many of them.

I REALLY Wanted to Like This More.... Nicole gave such a good review and I was so excited. But I ended up wanting more story & less literary style. The writing & prose was quite lyrical, poetic, conjuring, & evocative.....but it all proceeded at what I felt was break-neck speed. Had it been slower it might have even been spookier than it was. The version I picked up had a wonderful cover illustration, but inside the book were only pen & ink drawings. I would like this to be made into a movie, but I'm not sure who could do it justice (as in over use of hype would ruin it). ( )
  Auntie-Nanuuq | Jan 18, 2016 |
Didn't really care for it. ( )
  TerriS | Jan 17, 2016 |
”Do not lose your way in the dark,” voice sang in the houses, to harps and lutes. “O dear sweet dead, come home, and welcome here. Lost in the dark but always dear. Do not wander, do not roam. Dear ones, come home.” (p. 63)

The Halloween Tree is a pure magic book by Ray Bradbury. It invites along on a long night, through space and time, through the ”deep dark wild long history of Halloween” which is just “waiting to swallow us whole!” (p.35)

Eight neighbourhood boys have gathered excitedly in their costumes, when they realize that they are missing one of their number - the popular Pipkin, a boy so full of life and infectious enthusiasm, they don’t see how they can have a Halloween without him! They go to his house, where things seem . . . off. The normally exuberant Pipkin seems ill, the house is silent and strange. He tells them to go ahead, towards the Ravine and the “House” an he will meet them there.

The House in the Ravine is indeed the perfect place for eight thirteen year old boys to get a thrill on Halloween:

“… they stood at last by a crumbling wall, looking up and up and still farther up at the great tombyard top of the old house. For that’s what it seemed. The high mountain peak of the mansion was littered with what looked like black bones or iron rods, and … With so many chimneys, the roof seemed a vast cemetery, each chimney signifying the burial place of some old god or enchantress of steam, smoke, and firefly spark.” (p. 18)

But what’s even more impressive is beside the house, grows a massive tree, which is filled with a thousand lit pumpkins - a Halloween Tree! The mysterious caretaker of the house, Mr. Moundshroud appears and gives them a scare, before telling them he can teach them the meaning of Halloween. This quest, however, takes on added urgency when the boys witness latecomer Pipkin being captured by some dark monster and whisked away!

Mr. Moundshroud tells them, ”If we fly fast, maybe we can catch Pipkin. Grab his sweet Halloween candy-corn soul.” p.43) and so begins a journey through time and across the world, tracing the roots of Halloween from cavemen and ancient Egypt, to the druids on the British Isles… The belief that the sun had died and the fear it would not return, the placating of the dead - memories as ghosts - death festivals across the world, having to do with skulls and bones, skeletons and ghosts. The book even talks about the cycle of religions supplanting each other, the gods of the older religion becoming the monsters and demons of the next, throughout history.

In the end, the boys realize Pipkin’s fate is in their hands and the price for saving him is surprisingly high. This is a great read - a little chilling, a little educational but with enough shifts in setting and imagery to keep it entertaining, and the question of will they be able to save their friend adds a layer of suspense.

And best of all, throughout is Bradbury’s beautiful writing:

”Night came out from under each tree and spread.” p.1

“Smoke panted up out of a thousand chimneys like the plumes of funeral parades.” p. 2

(on mummies:)
”… that was how they dressed for Eternity. Spun up in a cocoon of threads, they hoped to come forth like lovely butterflies in some far dear loving world.” (p.71)

“The wind played a flute in a chimney somewhere; an old song about time and dark and far places.” p.23 ( )
  catfantastic | Jan 17, 2016 |
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ray Bradburyprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mugnaini, Joseph A.Illustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pinchot, BronsonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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With love for MADAME MAN'HA GARREAU-DOMBASLE met twenty-seven years ago in the graveyard at midnight on the Island of Janitzio at Lake Patzcuaro, Mexico, and remembered on each anniversary of the Day of the Dead.
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It was a small town by a small river and a small lake in a small northern part of a Midwest state.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0375803017, Paperback)

Special indeed are holiday stories with the right mix of high spirits and subtle mystery to please both adults and children--Charles Dickens's "A Christmas Carol," for example. Or Ray Bradbury's classic The Halloween Tree. Eight boys set out on a Halloween night and are led into the depths of the past by a tall, mysterious character named Moundshroud. They ride on a black wind to autumn scenes in distant lands and times, where they witness other ways of celebrating this holiday about the dark time of year. Bradbury's lyrical prose whooshes along with the pell-mell rhythms of children running at night, screaming and laughing, and the reader is carried along by its sheer exuberance.

Bradbury's stories about children are always attended by dread--of change, adulthood, death. The Halloween Tree, while sweeter than his adult literature, is also touched at moments by the cold specter of loss--which is only fitting, of course, for a holiday in honor of the waning of the sun.

This is a superb book for adults to read to children, a way to teach them, quite painlessly, about customs and imagery related to Halloween from ancient Egypt, Mediterranean cultures, Celtic Druidism, Mexico, and even a cathedral in Paris. (One caveat, though: Bradbury unfortunately perpetuates a couple of misconceptions about Samhain, or summer's end, the Halloween of ancient Celts and contemporary pagans.) This beautiful reprint edition has the original black-and-white illustrations and a new color painting on the dust jacket. --Fiona Webster

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:35 -0400)

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A group of children and a "spirit" go back through time to discover the beginnings of Halloween.

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