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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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1,325365,869 (3.91)66
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 35 (next | show all)
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 |
"It was like sweet and and sour sauce in book form. Not too sweet and not too sour."

That's a direct quote from my nine-year-old daughter.

I've read this book every year since I was seven years old. It was, as far as I can remember, my first experience with "horror" in literature, even if it's not a scary book. It's one of the main reasons I love Halloween as much as I do: the tradition, a holiday even older than Christmas, a celebration of those we've lost. It also captures the reckless, carefree, adventurous nature of preteen boys.

I say this every year when I review this book and I will say it again:

The Halloween Tree is to Halloween as A Christmas Carol is to Christmas.

Mr. Moundshroud is one of the greatest characters ever created. Period.

In summation: My highest possible recommendation. Read it. Read it to your kids. Read it to your parents. Read it every year. Just read it. ( )
  Edward.Lorn | Feb 13, 2015 |
A group of boys is ready to go out trick-or-treating, but one of their friends, Pipkin, is nowhere to be found. Pip suggests his friends meet him at a haunted house, and from there, the boys are taken on a voyage through place and time to learn about the history of Halloween at those various times and places, including Egypt when the pyramids were first built, Europe during the witch burnings, Mexico where they learn about Day of the Dead, and more.

It was ok. I listened to the audio, narrated by Bronson Pinchot. I thought he did a good job as narrator, but for the first half of it, my mind wandered too much and I did miss quite a bit. I managed to pay better attention through the second half and enjoyed that more. It's a quick little story and a good choice for Halloween. ( )
  LibraryCin | Oct 27, 2013 |
I finally got around to reading this for my All Hallows Read this year (yes, I'm getting in a little early). The use of language is frequently magnificent, if at times overly-lush (more so than I'm used to from his short stories, certainly), the imagery is stunning and will stay with me for some time, and there's some appropriate nastiness to the tale. Overall, it's a fun romp, and though the characterisation is paper-thin and the telling is a little dated, I think children in particular will still love it. ( )
  salimbol | Oct 25, 2013 |
The Halloween Tree
By Ray Bradbury
Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf
Published In: New York City, NY, USA
Date: 1972
Pgs: 145


A trick or treat expedition sets out from the neighborhood on Halloween. When they discover one of their companions missing, they end up on a mission through time trying to find their friend. Along the way, they discover the origin of Halloween. The dead, the darkness, the ghostly, ghastly, ghoulies await in the dark of All Hallow’s Eve. Come one, come all to the Halloween Tree.

fiction, young adult, Halloween

Why this book:
I’ve heard about this for years and never taken the time to read it. It has resided on my “to read” list for a long, long time. Recently, I saw a list of Neil Gaiman’s in which he named this one of his quintessential Halloween reads. I was looking for a Halloween read for this year and was going back and forth between rereads of The Graveyard Book by Gaiman or The Eyes of the Dragon by Stephen King. But when I saw this on Gaiman’s list, it jumped to the top of mine.

This Story is About:
courage, working hard, doing the right thing, greed, friends, jealousy, love, caring, happiness, sadness, family

Favorite Character:
Mr. Moundshroud. He’s magic. He is the night.

Least Favorite Character:
Pipkin, he’s the boy that everybody loves. I’ve always hated those guys. Not that I want bad things to happen to them. And I would have helped the rest of our friends to search him out.

Character I Most Identified With:
Tom. We’re all supposed to be Tom; afraid for our friend, swept along by dark and mysterious powers as we learn the origins of Halloween, filled with the wonder of childhood.

The Feel:
The run through the night streets on a Trick or Treat mission. Candy or bust. With an autumnal wind at your back. The wonder in the dark. The magic of the night.

Favorite Scene:
The lighting of the Halloween Tree when Moundshroud arises.
The circus kite building and the flight through the night skies and through time.
The appearance of Samhain and the scything of the autumnal wheat and the dead. The Fall of the Druids, the Rise of Rome, the Fall of Rome, the burning of the witches...the way these were pastiched together was very well envisioned.

The neighborhood on Halloween night, ancient Egypt, ancient Greece, old England, Europe, Paris

The pace of the story is easily enclosed in the exposition and poetry without dragging. Well done. Master craft.

Plot Holes/Out of Character:

Last Page Sound:

Author Assessment:
It’s Ray Bradbury.

Editorial Assessment:
Well done.

Did the Book Cover Reflect the Story:
The cover shows the boys at the beginning of their quest all dressed up in their Halloween best. Love the negative image/illusion of Mr. Moundshroud made into the image of the boys in costume.

Yes. Illustrated by Joseph Mugnaini. My favorite is the image of Mr. Moundshroud from the epilogue where he seems to stand before the whirlpool of infinity with his cape being part cape and part a locust’s veiny wings.

Hmm Moments:
The exposition about ancient Grecian autumnal practices, re: Halloween, mirroring the passing over of the spirit of death during the 10 plagues of Egypt from the Moses story in the Bible. Specifically, the painting of the lintel with pitch to keep out/catch the ghosts and keep them from entering.

Knee Jerk Reaction:
real classic

Disposition of Book:
Irving Public Library, Irving, TX

Why isn’t there a screenplay?
There was a Cartoon Network production with Leonard Nimoy voicing Mr. Moundshroud and with Ray Bradbury as The Narrator. Find it surprising that there haven’t been more adaptations.

Casting call:
Would love to see Brad Pitt or George Clooney as Mr. Moundshroud in a live action movie.
Angus Scrimm should have been Mr. Moundshroud.

Would recommend to:
All who love Halloween, Ray Bradbury, and the things that go bump in the night ( )
  texascheeseman | Oct 22, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 35 (next | show all)
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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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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:43:58 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

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

(summary from another edition)

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