The Halloween Tree -- Summer Book 17

The Halloween Tree, by Ray Bradbury

Yeah, it's not Halloween or even fall.  I put this on hold at the library, and then I suspended the hold, planning to read it in October, but somehow the hold was activated and I got it in July instead.  That's okay, I'm quite ready for fall!  And, I've decided to switch out the last few picks in my 20 Books of Summer; there is no way I'm going to make it through a modernist Russian novel of over 400 pages, and I have some books that have to get read before being returned to the library.  Like this one!

On Halloween, the greatest night of the year, eight boys gather, each in their costumes.  But where is the ninth, Joe Pipkin?  He tells them to meet him at a haunted house on the edge of town, and when they do, they meet Mr. Moundshroud and see his Halloween tree -- and they see Pip seized by death.  Mr. Moundshroud leads them on a chase through time, stopping at festivals of the dead where Pipkin is imprisoned.  He's a mummy, a gargoyle, all sorts of things, and finally they all have to pass a test of bravery and friendship.

It's all written in Bradbury's trademark poetic prose and with his love of Halloween, spooks, and young-boyness.  A wonderful story, and I should think it would make a perfect read-aloud to your 8-12 year old kid.

This copy had great illustrations, too, and some time long ago I must have read the book and seen the same pictures.  The masks at the head of each chapter and the kite looked very familiar.


  1. This is a novella, right? I own the ebook, and have meant to read it next Halloween. It seems interesting, and a good start before picking Fahrenheit 451 (which I am dreading!)

  2. It's a short novel for sure -- my copy was about 150 pages of large print with illustrations. Nowadays we'd call it a middle-grade novel; a 10yo could enjoy it.

    I love F451! But I love most things Bradbury. I think it's a good idea to read this and maybe some Bradbury short stories before you read it, though; Bradbury wrote a zillion good short stories and his style does take a little practice, I think.

  3. I listened to this in the fall of 2013 but don't remember a thing about it already! I might be due for a reread/relisten this fall.

  4. Ooh, it would be a great RIP read...(well, that was my original plan!)


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