The Halloween Tree (Paperback)

Walmart # 559522142

The Halloween Tree (Paperback)

Walmart # 559522142
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Adventure, mystery and history are all wrapped into this eerie Halloween story about eight costumed boys who are whisked away on a kite through time and space to search for the meaning of Halloween.

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Hands down the greatest H

Hands down the greatest Halloween book ever. It always holds up, ALWAYS. Nothing gets me in the Halloween mood more than this classic. It's written with such imagination, prose, and imagery that it sucks the reader right in and takes them on the same incredible journey that 8 young boys go on one Hallows Eve. The creepy and mysterious Moundshroud takes the young boys on a journey back in time to relive Halloween in all it's variations, celebrations and changes. To Egypt, Ireland, England, France, AND Mexico; they journey on the scariest night of the year to save their missing friend Pip and to discover the true meaning of Halloween. No one can weave a tale like Ray Bradbury can and make you feel the breeze in the trees, see the jack o lanterns swaying, and smell the pies cooking. Even the movie adaptation is a classic. I can't wait to share this book with my future children (as of yet unborn and unplanned).

Eight boys go to Pipkin's

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.

A wild escapade for Hallo

A wild escapade for Halloween Eve. A gang of young boys set out in their costumes to celebrate Halloween as only young boys could in the years before stranger danger and poison scares. They become confused when their celebrated leader does not join them; but soon meet up with a grim and scary stranger who promises to help them find him. He takes them on an adventure through time showing in a dark and macabre way how each of their costumes came to be and how they all revolve around the theme of death, and appeasing death. Or something like that. I confess I only listened with one ear because the rhythms of the words are like poetry and soothed me rather than gripped me. The narrator, Bronson Pinchot, is very fine, and this would be a great story for educating older children about various cultures views on death.

This was a re-read, but o

This was a re-read, but of a new (forthcoming) edition with illustrations by Gris Grimly. My ARC doesn't have many of the illustrations, but the ones it does have are lovely. I'm going to give this three starts for now--it's not one of my favorite Bradburys--but reserve the right to change that number up or down once I've had a chance to see it fully illustrated.

A group of thirteen-year-

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...
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