Bradbury, Ray. The Halloween Tree. Illustrated by Gris Grimly. Alfred A. Knopf, 2015 (original 1972). $18.99. ISBN 9780553512700. 126 pgs. Ages 13+. P6Q7.
Originally released in 1972, this edition was republished with new artwork by Gris Grimly. The Halloween Tree is about a group of boys (around 12 years old) who find out the legend and meaning behind Halloween by time traveling with the ancient spirit of Halloween. There is also a bit of mystery to the story since the boys are trying to rescue a friend as they are learning about Halloween. The book is written using poetic language, which makes it very difficult to follow at times. The imagery is astounding, but it takes away from the story itself and doesn’t add to the plot. The names of the characters are Halloween-ish (Pipkin, Tom Skelton, etc.), which adds to the creepy Halloween theme.
November 2015 review by Cody Rosenthal.
[Editor’s note: The Halloween Tree is classic Ray Bradbury, employing poetic language and dark imagery, along with time travel to introduce young readers to the customs of death of a variety of cultures from ancient Egypt and Greece, to medieval witch burnings and more modern days, embodied in Halloween, the Day of the Dead. This is also one of the few books I have found which includes only boys and male characters. For those readers who appreciate this approach, the book is wonder itself. If it does not appeal, it might be best to seek another book.]