The Saturday Reading List: The Halloween Tree

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

1988 cover by Leo and Diane Dillon. My favorite version of the book’s cover because of the creative skull design.

The Stats:

  • Publication Date: 1972
  • Fiction, fantasy, all-ages, “Halloween” around the world, the “magic” of Halloween
  • 4/5
  • Warnings: Not for those who don’t like Halloween and kind of campy.
  • Note: So…this week was pretty hectic for me, so I needed a really short book to read, especially one that I knew I was going to enjoy. Since it’s Halloween season, I figured out I’d pull out a sentimental but also literary favorite.

From the back of the book:

“On Halloween night, eight trick-or-treaters gather at the haunted house by the edge of town, ready for adventure. But when Something whisks their friend Pip away, only one man can help the boys find him. Join the sinister Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud as he takes them on an unforgettable journey through space and time, deep into the mysteries of this spookiest of all nights. Can the boys save Pip before it’s too late?”

Zo’s Review 

This is definitely a favorite of mine. I originally read The Halloween Tree in 6th grade and liked it. I read it this year, at 22 years old and loved it. Ray Bradbury, probably more known for the Martian Chronicles or Fahrenheit 451, created a tale that took the theme of death that Halloween is derived from and made it into something that should be respected and not necessarily seen as scary or bad thing but as part of life, especially through the characters’ travels through different times and cultures.

There’s honestly so much I can talk about in regards to the book but let’s first look at the illustration. For this post, I’ll be talking about the original illustration done by Joseph Mugnaini (sorry Gris Grimly, your illustrations for the re-release is pretty cool too but we’re keeping it old school in this post). Sometimes, illustrations can distract from the story. Not so with Mugnaini’s beautiful detailing. Illustrative collaborator with Bradbury on some of his other work, this is a great example of what happens when an author’s and an illustrator’s talents build off of each other in a spectacular way.

Mr. Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud himself.

“The boys stood, cold, shivering. They looked off to where the Dark Something had stolen their friend. 

“So,” said Moundshroud. “All the more reason for you to come along lads. If we fly fast, maybe we can catch Pipkin. Grab his sweet Halloween corn-candy soul. Bring him back, pop him in bed, toast him warm, save his breath. What say, lads? Would you solve two-mysteries-in-one? Search and seek for lost Pipkin, and solve Halloween, all in one fell dark blow?”

They thought of All Hallow’s Night and the billion ghosts awandering the lonely lanes in col winds and strange smokes.

They thought of Pipkin, no more than thimbleful of boy and sheer summer delight, torn out like a tooth and carried off on a black tide of web and horn and black soot.

And, almost as one, they murmured: “Yes.”

Another thing I really love about The Halloween Tree is the poetic element that Bradbury wove into his prose. Rereading the book again, I felt this childlike energy from his words. It’s a style of writing that you really don’t see too often in books that are written now. It’s no wonder why The Halloween Tree is one of those tales that attract readers from all ages. Plus, the cultural elements are awesome too. As an American, I think it’s really easy to forget the historical and cultural influences that today’s Halloween took its inspiration from, like the Mexican holiday, Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead).

Magic kite ride anyone?

Overall, if you want a not so scary, timeless read that’s good for any age, The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury should definitely be considered!

What do you guys think? Have you read The Halloween Tree already? Have any other book suggestions that I should add to my Saturday Reading List? Leave your thoughts behind in the comments. Just be respectful please.

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