Review of The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
By: David K. Montoya

Hi boys and girls! Welcome to the Halloween edition of The World of Myth book reviews! First and foremost, a shout out to our resident book reviewer Michael Arnold, who is down with Covid and is rebounding back to health as we speak. We all wish you a speedy recovery, my friend! Next up on the list, I was tapped to provide an insight into a favorite book of mine (since everyone else was busy and I was their last choice); as it was the spooky and scary season of the year, I wanted to review something that would fit in this month's theme. Honestly, I was unsure what I would review, as all my favorite books have already been delivered for your consumption. So I hit my personal library and came up with nothing, then pulled up my kindle app on my phone and scrolled up and down multiple times until it caught my eye. Actually, it was the name that attracted me more so than the title (that was a bonus). The name Ray Bradbury made me scroll back up until I found it again and hoped it wasn't a title that had not been reviewed yet.

To my delight, it was The Halloween tree; while it is deemed a children's book, it is written by a master in Bradbury and accomplished both needs for something seasonal and one that has never been reviewed. Yay me! So, for those of you who have never read this book, here is a little background. Initially released in October 1972, the story is about eight trick-or-treaters who are looking for another friend, Pikin, who comes up missing on Halloween nonetheless. So, the gang goes on an unforgettable journey leading them to a classic haunted house (think the house from the Munsters television show) and, oddly enough, has a tree covered in lit jack-o-lanterns. To find Pip, they travel through time and space in places like the ancient Egyptian tombs and encounter the gargoyles of Notre Dame Cathedral and my personal favorite part of the tale, where they end up in Mexico on Dia de Los Muertos (the Dead of the Dead). At some point in the book, the gang wonders if Pikin is still alive and questions if he is. Can they save him in time before his time is up?

As I re-read the eBook, I realized that Bradbury was also teaching the reader a little about the meaning and history of Halloween. For example, as I mentioned previously, when the kids travel to the time of ancient Egypt, we learn how death was a part of that era's everyday life. In England, we are educated on the Festival of Samhain and tackle fun superstitions like the one in the Grecian Isles where they place black molasses put on the doorpost so the spirits who came to visit would get stuck and on the goo and prevent them from coming inside the house to haunt the residents. Also, something that should be noted on the subject is that with each stop Mister Moundshroud (of is, in my opinion, the Angel of Death) shares a unique custom surrounding death with the boys.

If you have never read this book, I sincerely think you should; as it is a fast and easy read (only about one hundred fifty pages long), it is perfect for the Halloween season. So, while it is a lost tradition, I would like to bring back the rating system for this one time and would like to award Ray Bradbury's The Halloween Tree with four creepy and spooky stars!

All right, gang, that is it for me. Again, thank you for spending a little time with me on this issue, and I expect Michael to return next month for a higher-quality book review.

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