Awesome, awesome, awesome! I picked up this little treat right at Christmas time- don't ask. It's Ray Bradbury! You can't go wrong, no matter the time of year. Isn't it crazy to think that he wrote the majority of his good stuff before most of us were even born?? Genius!
Before I get into this book, I have to mention my motivation. Ray Bradbury comes in handy when I'm trying to help older relunctant readers find a book. The Illustrated Man has just enough edge to keep even the "bad" kids interested. Premise- a dude is tattooed by a WITCH (see?...I already have you), and at night his tattoos come alive and move around on his body. Good enough, I don't even need to go on, however, I would be doing you an injustice if I didn't mention that this tattooed man has a blank spot on his shoulder that you should NEVER gaze upon. It won't end well for you.
So! With that in mind, I knew The Halloween Tree was going to be a fast-paced, spooky thrill-ride, and I wasn't disappointed. The language, rhythm, and macabre nature of the story makes me think no one other than Tim Burton should even attempt the movie. The puerile pack of boys reminded me a little bit of a Goonies/Lost Boys mix. And who was Mr. Moundshroud? The Devil himself? (I just like saying his name...Mound-shroud...open your mouth wide!)
The plot: Halloween night, a group of middle school-aged boys go on an adventure back in time to learn all the different ways Halloween has been celebrated around the world. It's very clever how Bradbury works in each boy's costume- one boy is a mummy and they witness ancient Egypt, another is the reaper, and they visit Druid Britain and Samhain. It's a little dark, but there's nothing inappropriate in it. My only caveat is that some kids won't get some of the outdated vocabulary (i.e. "he made water" means he peed). I give this one my favorite fall drink- a great big spiced caramel cider with whipped cream. Book and drink= delicious!