- Paperback: 160 pages
- Publisher: Yearling; 1st edition (2001)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0375803017
- ISBN-13: 978-0375803017
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.4 x 7.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 279 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,745 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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The Halloween Tree Paperback – September 7, 1999
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From the Inside Flap
-moving, eerie...tale set on Halloween night. Eight costumed boys running to meet their friend Pipkin at the haunted house outside town encounter instead the huge and cadaverous Mr. Moundshroud. As Pipkin scrambles to join them, he is swept away by a dark Something, and Moundshroud leads the boys on the tail of a kite through time and space to search the past for their friend and the meaning of Halloween. After witnessing a funeral procession in ancient Egypt, cavemen discovering fire, Druid rites, the persecution of witches in the Dark Ages, and the gargoyles of Notre Dame, they catch up with the elusive Pipkin in the catacombs of Mexico, where each boy gives one year from the end of his life to save Pipkin's. Enhanced by appropriately haunting black-and-white drawings."--Booklist
From the Back Cover
"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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Ray Bradbury spins the tale of a group of friends looking for the ultimate halloween scare. Trick or treating simply is not good enough and so they sneak out a haunted house. When they arrive however it os not unoccupied and they are taken on a journey through history by Mr. Mounshoud to learn about different cultures representations of halloween. They race through Egypt, Rome, France, Mexico and other wonderful places trying to save their frind Pipkin while learning how the different countries celebrate and honor their loved ones who have passed on.
I am always fond of Ray Bradbury books, but I have to go with four stars because sometimes his writing style looses me. I will be reading along and suddenly feel like the subject matter changed without a clear path as to how we got here or where we are now. I recommend this book for anyone looking for some light educational reading on a very interesting subject.
On Halloween night in the American heartland, eight young boys gather for a evening of costumed carousing. Their revels lead them to the creaky gothic manor of the eccentric and ancient Mr. Moundshroud, who reveals to them the enormous Halloween tree, bedecked with thousands of flame-mouthed jack-o-lanterns. When something dark arises out of the shadows to snag the most beloved of the gang, Pipkin, Moundshroud leads the boys on a merry journey through Halloweens past in the hopes of finding Pipkin and rescuing him.
The book thrusts its reader into ancient Egypt, the old Britain of the Druids, Notre Dame herself, and the glowing graveyards of Mexico at breakneck speed. The narrative is immersive, and full of the spiced scents and sweet tastes of a hundred Halloweens. As far as the spooky factor goes, the book is more of an eerie adventure than anything resembling horror, so even the most scare-adverse readers can settle in to enjoy it. The illustrations by Gris Grimly (cover art featured above) set the perfect mood and embody the freedom of movement in the writing style. I would have enjoyed a little girl or two getting in on the adventure, and indeed this book contains not a single female character, but since The Halloween Tree was published in 1972, I’m willing to to chalk that up to a product of it’s time.
Though the story is simple and the page-count a modest 145, the book explores the history of Halloween, the indissoluble bonds of childhood friendship, and the way humans both ancient and modern have dealt with the passing of light into darkness, and life into death. You’ve heard of the true meaning of Christmas; it wouldn’t be unfair to say The Halloween Tree serves up the true meaning of Halloween in all is dark, gleeful glory.