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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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1,387425,481 (3.88)76
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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One of my favorite Ray Bradbury books! Such a great Halloween read, the character development of these boys is fantastic and it always gets me excited for the spooky holiday. A book about time travel and true friendship. What more could you want? ( )
  gracelovera | Nov 17, 2015 |
A group of thirteen-year-old boys are taken on an extraordinary time-travelling Halloween quest in this holiday fantasy from acclaimed science-fiction author Ray Bradbury, learning about some of the antecedents of Halloween, whilst also pursuing their missing friend Pipkin. Opening in an unnamed Midwestern locale, The Halloween Tree follows Tom Skelton - appropriately dressed as a skeleton - and his friends as they head to the haunted house on the outskirts of town. Here they encounter Mr. Moundshroud, who appears first as an evil smile, and then as a tall dark man with green light in his eyes. It is he who becomes their eerie but joyful shepherd on a magical journey through the 'Undiscovered Country' of the past, showing them the many diverse, but also similar observances tied to the day we now call Halloween. From ancient Egypt to medieval Europe, from the gargoyles of Notre Dame to the Mexican customs of Día de los Muertos, the human relationship to death - both cosmic and personal - is explored. And at every stop on the journey, the boys discover another manifestation of their missing friend Pipkin - kidnapped by dark forces, and dying in hospital back home, all at once - until finally they themselves must confront death, and make a decision that will save their friend, and impact their own lifespans as well...

I have been meaning to read The Halloween Tree for many years. Specifically, I have been meaning to pick it up at Halloween. Somehow though, I always seem to forget, and feeling that it must be read at this time of year, find myself shelving the idea once again, until the next autumn. Finally, this season, finding it on a display at work, I actually managed to get to reading it. I'm not sure if the years of expectation somehow sabotaged the experience, but I just didn't find it as engrossing as I'd hoped. I have seen the prose described as beautiful, but while Bradbury does have an occasional turn of phrase that struck me, I found his style somehow overdone. It was choppy, and yet overlarded with self-consciously clever description and metaphor at the same time. I was intrigued by the idea of linking the many historical periods and cultural observances to the central idea of death and rebirth, darkness and light, but didn't feel that Bradbury was always successful in doing so. I felt that his use of the phrase 'the Undiscovered Country' in referring to the past - a clear reference to Shakespeare's Hamlet, in which it refers to the future - was interesting, but not entirely clear. The most powerful moment of the book, for me, came at the end, when the boys are asked to make a sacrifice for Pipkin, but I thought even this could have been better developed, better connected to the themes Bradbury seemed to be trying to explore. In sum: there was much to interest in this brief Halloween tale, but I simply wasn't as impressed intellectually, or moved emotionally, as I'd thought to be. This was my first Bradbury, and while I wouldn't be opposed to trying another of his more famous works, it didn't create in me a burning desire to do so... ( )
  AbigailAdams26 | Nov 3, 2015 |
The Halloween Tree is perfect to be listened. I kept imagining a voice telling this story. It is probably wonderful. Still, it didn't touch me as it probably would if I were a thirteen year old boy.

This is a lovely horror story for younger audience; a story of friendship and one Halloween night. A group of thirteen year old boys end up learning more about the holiday than they had expected while trying to catch up with their elusive friend Pipkin.

The atmosphere of the story is perfect for this time of year. I enjoyed it even if Mr Moundshroud's educational episodes didn't have equal intensity. I loved the first part, the introduction of this group of thirteen-year-olds and Pipkin, their happiness while running together trick or treating, mysterious Mr. Moundshroud. ( )
  Irena. | Nov 3, 2015 |
On a race through history, 8 boys must learn the secrets and origins of Halloween night in order that they might save the life of their friend, who has been stricken ill on Halloween. Ray Bradbury weaves an imaginative story that creates a rather simplified but no less interesting history of Halloween night. With his usual imagery, Bradbury really creates a story with eerie and sometimes scary nature that is Halloween night.

That was my original review of The Halloween Tree from a couple of years ago. Having not read it since, when I re-read it for my book group recently I assumed that this time would just be a refresher for me on the book. I was so wrong. Somehow, this time around it was like I was reading the book for the first time. Bradbury's language spoke to me in a way that it definitely had not previously, leaving me nostalgic for my own youth and the excitement of being a young boy at Halloween, and then sad for how much Halloween seems to have changed for so many kids now. Halloween is nothing like it was when I was younger, which in turn was nothing like it is described by Bradbury in an earlier time, but there definitely seems to be a loss of the magic of the holiday for kids today. I think now more than ever, we could use Mr. Moundshroud to reveal the magic of Halloween to this generation.

This new edition has new, appropriately creepy accompanying illustrations by Gris Grimly. I'm always excited to see how Grimly translates the written word into visuals, and he didn't disappoint with this volume. He captures something of the magic in the story perfectly. ( )
  tapestry100 | Oct 15, 2015 |
The Halloween Tree, by Ray Bradbury, is to Halloween what Charles Dickens's A Christmas Carol is to Christmas. If the novella is not required reading, it should be. This short book proves that Halloween is so much more than a holiday created by candy bar companies, and is most certainly not a satanic celebration. From the tombs of Egypt to the underworld of Mexico during Dia de Los Muertos, Bradbury whisks us away on an autumnal wind. The journey is poignant and purposeful. What exactly would you give to save a friend?

The writing is as perfected as prose comes, not to mention, borderline poetic.

We lost Mr. Bradbury this past year. But, because of stories like this, he will live forever.

Favorite quote: "No wonder the town was empty. The graveyard was full." ( )
  Edward.Lorn | Feb 13, 2015 |
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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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