Title: The Halloween Tree
Author: Ray Bradbury
Publication Date: January 1st 1972
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
“When you reach the stars, boy, yes, and live there forever, all the fears will go, and Death himself will die.”
“A fast-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.”
This is going to be a pretty short review. This was one of my reads for October, as I was going with a horror/paranormal/Halloween theme this month. I’m really glad I picked up this book at the library. I have never read anything by Ray Bradbury but I get the picture that this isn’t his normal type of book.
I loved the writing style of it. It was easy to read and prose was beautiful. I really liked that the children were dressed up in your basic Halloween costumes (i.e. Mummy, Witch, etc..) and they went through the different histories of where the origins for those costumes came from and the history of Halloween in general.
I think my favorite part though was that they were trying to help their sick/dying friend and near the end they were offered the chance to save him. All they had to do was give one year of their life away to him. They all jumped on it and said yeah of course, no problem. They were then warned that a year off their life might seem like nothing when they are children but when they are nearing the end, maybe in 50 years time, that year might be the most important thing they will ever have. I thought that was pretty profound in a children’s novel and I loved that it made the children stop and question what it really meant. Hell, it made me stop and really think about the ideas it had brought up.
The writing style won’t be for everyone but it’s worth a read. Obviously, the perfect time for this book is probably Halloween. This book isn’t a horror novel, it’s a Halloween novel and there is a big difference. This book is just drenched in the holiday and everything that it stands for and the traditions, etc. It isn’t about being terrified or spooked. It’s just about one of my favorite holidays, Halloween.
I, obviously, recommend giving this one a shot.