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The Halloween Tree [Paperback]

Ray Bradbury
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)

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Book Description

3 Jan 2000
A thousand pumpkin smiles look down from the Halloween Tree, and twice-times-a-thousand fresh-cut eyes glare and wink and blink, as Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud leads the nine children on a leaf-tossed, kite-flying, gliding, broomstick-riding trip to learn the secret of All Hallow's Eve.

Product details

  • Paperback: 182 pages
  • Publisher: Earthlight; New edition edition (3 Jan 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0671037684
  • ISBN-13: 978-0671037680
  • Product Dimensions: 17.2 x 11 x 1.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,636,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

One of the greatest writers of science fiction and fantasy, Ray Bradbury was born in Waukegan, Illinois in 1920.

He published some 500 short stories, novels, plays and poems since his first story appeared in Weird Tales when he was just twenty years old. Among his many famous works are Fahrenheit 451, The Illustrated Man and The Martian Chronicles.

Product Description

Amazon Review

Somewhere inside Ray Bradbury's head is a place where it's always golden autumn, in 1920s midwest America, and every night is Halloween. He has a gift for evoking childhood thrills where joy and terror come heart-stoppingly close. Here eight kids dressed as horrors for Halloween go hunting darkness and find it:
... one hundred million tons of night all crammed in that huge dark pit, that dank cellar, that deliciously frightening ravine.
Awaiting them is the comic-sinister trickster Moundshroud, who whirls the boys on a tour through time that shows them the roots of Halloween--cavemen trembling from the dark, Egyptians whose lives revolved around death, Druids appeasing their terrible gods, and so on to the grim carnival of Mexico's Day of the Dead. It's full of poetic flashes, as when "all the old beasts, all the old tales, all the old nightmares, all the unused demons-put- by" are summoned from every corner of Europe to become gargoyles in the newly-built Notre Dame Cathedral.

Bradbury's theme of celebrating life by celebrating death is underlined by fleeting appearances of the gang's missing ninth boy, the one we soon realise is gravely ill and may not last the night. But Moundshroud, who is more than he seems, offers a deal ... The Halloween Tree is written as though for children, with lashings of exclamation marks--but, just as in a fairground, adults too can let their hair down and enjoy the wild roller- coaster ride. --David Langford

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magical and scary fantasy 15 Feb 2000
By A Customer
I remember getting this from the library about fifteen years ago, at the age of 10. And then reading it again and again and again, unwilling to leave the frightening yet safe world of childhood evoked by the author (the same world as described in "Something wicked this way comes"). As soon as I saw it had been republished I ordered the book - and as I did so all the images of the two boys and their vividly drawn experiences came flooding back. If you are a Bradbury fan, and haven't read this one yet, then buy it. If you aren't a Bradbury fan, and want a taster - then you can't go far wrong with this book.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not a typical Bradbury, more like a fairy tale 30 Aug 2014
By Brian Clegg TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
I am a huge Bradbury fan, and while revisiting some of my old favourites, I noticed this book, which I had never read. It's a strange one. Set on Halloween it takes the classic group of Bradbury circa 11-year-old boys on a whirlwind tour around the world and through time to understand the background of Halloween, and to save their lost friend.

It starts much as you would expect, reminiscent in some ways of Bradbury's utter classic Something Wicked This Way Comes with the boys gathering for the Halloween fun, enjoying scaring themselves. But then it turns into Bradbury on a drug trip. Where Something Wicked is essentially real world fantasy - so a normal environment that becomes distorted by the dark magic of the carnival - here reality goes out of the window and we have something closer to a fairy tale or a dream. To be honest, it's not really my kind of thing, even though I inevitably appreciated Bradbury's wonderful way with words, extended to its extreme.

Also, I did find Bradbury's effusive description of the missing boy, with the unlikely name Pipkin, more than a little cringe making.

All Bradbury is worth reading, but this is, for me, is not one of the best.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This book is a Halloween classic! 5 Oct 1998
By A Customer
The Halloween Tree is an exceptional book filled the mystery of autumn and the intrigue of childhood. Written in the classic Bradbury style, this book is must read for me every Holloween season and a story I readily share with the children in my family.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Halloween Classic 6 Nov 2008
"Anyone could see that the wind was a special wind this night, and the darkness took on a special feel because it was All Hallows' Eve. Everything seemed cut from soft black velvet or gold or orange velvet. Smoke panted up out of a thousand chimneys like the plumes of funeral parades. From kitchen windows drifted two pumpkin smells: gourds being cut, pies being baked."
-- The Halloween Tree, p. 4

Why do we dress up on Halloween? How did the tradition of trick-or-treating begin? Why are witches, skeletons and ghosts associated with Halloween? The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury takes the reader on an incredible journey through the history of Halloween.

It's Halloween night, and for 13-year-old Tom Skelton and his friends, it's the most exciting evening of the year. But when they meet up to go trick-or-treating together, they realize that one of their friends is missing - Joe Pipkin, "the greatest boy who ever lived." When they arrive at Pipkin's house, Pip emerges, his face deathly pale. He says that he's not feeling well but he'll catch up with his friends at a house at the edge of town.

The boys arrive at the house to find an incredible sight: a giant tree filled with jack-o-lanterns, the Halloween Tree. There they meet the mysterious Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud, the sinister yet genial owner of the home. When he questions the boys about the significance of their costumes, the boys, dressed as a Skeleton, Mummy, Witch, Ghost, Gargoyle, etc. all realize that they don't know the stories behind their Halloween costumes. Mr. Moundshroud offers to help them discover the history of All Hallows' Eve, but the boys know they have to wait for Pip. When Pip appears, his friends call to him, but as Pip approaches, he stumbles and vanishes into the darkness. Mr.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Fantastic Tale on the Origins of Halloween. 24 July 2014
By Traffic TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having never read a Ray Bradbury book before I had no idea what to expect, however I was not quite expecting this. This book is absolutely awesome.

One Halloween night, somewhere in the United States, Tom Skelton, a 13-year-old boy and 8 of his friends go out trick-or-treating for innocent fun and candy. Or so they thought. They approach an old mansion outside of which stands the strangest tree they have ever seen; a large skeletal looking thing that has pumpkins of all shapes and sizes growing on its branches, each lit from within. The owner of the house, Mr Moundshroud, comes out to meet them, and it is here that their wild adventures begin.

One of their friends suddenly disappears as if taken by some miracle force. They hear him crying out for help, and desperate to help him they turn to Mr Moundshroud who then takes them on the most strange journey they have ever taken; through time and in various lands he transports them to witness and learn how Halloween came about, how it is celebrated in each part of the world and why children go out trick-or-treating on Halloween night.

Each stop they make seems to have some significance to the costume that each individual boy is wearing; skeleton, witch, ghost, mummy, beggar, gargoyle and death! And each place they visit they see and hear their missing friend but always just out of reach.

The journey they take is exhilarating and yet terrifying, and in the end they are tested to see how much their missing friend’s life means to each of them.

They style of this story telling is in the third person and is written in an almost poetical and musical way. The way the story is told is quite unlike anything I have ever read before, and really is the most fantastic read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
2.0 out of 5 stars Messy
The start of this book with the description of the wind in trees and the atmosphere was special. He certainly has gift with words, but very soon the book becomes messy and surreal. Read more
Published 13 days ago by j n n richardson
4.0 out of 5 stars Where does Halloween come from?
I think this had gone out of print when I reached my teenage period of avidly reading all I could find by Bradbury. Read more
Published 3 months ago by YeahYeahNoh
5.0 out of 5 stars A thing of beauty
This is one of the most magical books you're ever likely to come across in a lifetime of reading. Wonderful beyond words, it will stay with you long after you've read it. Read more
Published on 31 Aug 2010 by Avid reader
5.0 out of 5 stars The Magic Tree
I first bought this book as a corgi paperback in 1975 & found the story magic and enchanting. Ray Bradbury has a rare quality as a master story teller, and this is one of his... Read more
Published on 28 Mar 2010 by Alan Berry
4.0 out of 5 stars Courtesy of Teens Read Too
Opening this book is like opening a present. Originally published in 1972, publisher Alfred A. Knopf has printed a new hardcover edition. Read more
Published on 28 Dec 2007 by TeensReadToo
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful, Magical and Moving.
Ray Bradbury conjures dark delights from the depths of history in this classic book. Have you ever wondered about the truth behind Halloween? Read more
Published on 31 Oct 2002 by M. S. Richards
5.0 out of 5 stars A book to read every year.
On October 31 of every year since I've been 8, I have picked up the Halloween Tree and read it cover to cover. Read more
Published on 22 July 1998
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