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Comment: Ex-Library Book - will contain Library Markings. Book has a small amount of wear visible on the binding, cover, pages. Selection as wide as the Mississippi.
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The Halloween Tree Hardcover – 1972

165 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews Review

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


"If you want to know what Halloween is, or if you simply want an eerie adventure, take this mystery-history trip. You couldn't have a better guide than Ray Bradbury."--Boston Globe

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 0800 (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 145 pages
  • Publisher: Alfred A. Knopf (1972)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394824091
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394824093
  • Product Dimensions: 6.7 x 0.7 x 9.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (165 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #178,723 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury, who died on June 5, 2012, at the age of 91, inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He wrote the screen play for John Huston's classic film adaptation of Moby Dick, and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree. He was the recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, among many honors.

Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, "Live forever!" Bradbury later said, "I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

88 of 92 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 27, 2004
Format: Paperback
"Halloween Tree" recaptures the surreal spookiness of a child's Halloween with the knowledge of an adult. One of Ray Bradbury's relatively few books for children is a wildly imaginative ride, with a strong subtext about friendship and death itself.

Eight young boys congregate to go trick-or-treating on Halloween night; the only one missing is Pipkin, the universal favorite (Bradbury devotes an entire chapter to singing Pip's praises). Pipkin does show up, but he acts strangely and isn't wearing a costume. When they show up at the House, a haunted edifice, they find the sinister, skeletal Mr. Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud and an enormous tree hung with jack-o-lanterns -- a Halloween tree. Pipkin appears nearby, and then is carried off into the darkness.

To save Pip, Moundshroud takes the boys on a strange trip through time and space, through history and across the world. He shows them the death-related rituals that spawned Halloween: Egypt's mummies, the Celtic Samhain and its lord of the dead, the Christian All Hallows Eve, the Mexican El Dia De Muerte, and others. Through time and across the world, they chase Pipkin and try to save him -- but what can they do against death?

Halloween books are generally the realm of the under-eight crowd. At a certain point in life, it's just hard to recapture that magic -- it's like a darker version of Christmas. But Ray Bradbury, who has been captivating people with his dark-edged fantasy for years, presents a uniquely gothic, uplifting story in this book.

Ray Bradbury's deft touch keeps this particular story from becoming too leaden and heavy-handed.
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45 of 45 people found the following review helpful By Michael Battaglia on March 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
You might want to dismiss this as one of Bradbury's lesser works because of the simplistic plot and writing style but that would be a mistake. What we have here is one of his most important books and one of his best. Taking cues from Dickens, Bradbury writes a timeless tale of Halloween that isn't carried along by dovetailing plottwists or dense knotted prose but simply a quest to save someone and the boundless exuburance of children. I literally finished this while waiting for a class to start and when I had a few pages left and class started I sat there and finished the book. Once you start reading it you can't stop, the momentum of is one of constant motion. And it's not a kids book, sure the themes of innocence are there but also are the more serious topics of death and darkness, as seen through the filters of a child. For all it's length it's a perfect book for the most part and one that deserves to be read every year together with a bunch of people. On Halloween of course
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39 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Michael ( on October 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
I first tried to read this book when I was around the suggested reading age (about 12 years old). Now that I'm 18 I finally tuly appreciated this masterpiece. Never before have I seen the true essence of Halloween captured on paper so perfectly. Life and death, night and day, Autumn and Summer, courage and friendship, Halloween and all it's components are presented to the reader in fantastic imagery that will transport you back to those Halloween nights that we miss so much. The nights when you could taste the magic in the air. Bradbury is an artist and these 145 pages are his canvas. If you are a true fan of Halloween or want to become one this book is for you.
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 15, 2000
Format: Paperback
Make no mistake- this is not a children's book. Nor is it an adult book. Rather, THE HALLOWEEN TREE is a book for everyone. The writing is simple and swift enough for a child, but complex and engaging for the adult. It's a Halloween tradition that everyone should instill on with their families... as nostalgic as spiced cider, apple bobbing or trick-or-treating on an October afternoon in the smoky pumpkin air.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Anne Alexander on October 13, 2002
Format: Paperback
Every year, every single October, I reread this book which my parents gave to me when I was a young child. It is lyrical and evocative of the time when we were children and thought of Halloween as magical. The streets of the town as Halloween begins, the haunted house where Moundshroud lives, the ancient rituals we are led through by Bradbury, the travel through time and history, the underlying message that death will eventually come for us all -- it is ominous yet strangely comforting to read every time. It is not like his other books, but it is a must-read for all of his fans.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 28, 1996
Format: Mass Market Paperback
The Halloween Tree has captivated me since my first reading
of this work when I was only nine years old. (That was 14
years ago for those of you who are wondering.) The book was
a gift from my father, and little did he know at the time,
that he gave me an example of some of the finest writing I
have had the opportuniy to read, and a source of inspriation
for my own writing. Ray Bradbury's command of the Englih
language creates poetry within prose. The story is descriptive
and lyrical, the characters vibrant and fantastic (especially
Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud, but you'll just have to read
the book to find out who he is). I wish you as many happy
readings of the Halloween Tree as I have had over the years.
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