The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When their friend Pipkin is snatched away, his eight friends, with the mysterious Mr. Moundshroud, go looking for him, crossing time and space and learning all about Halloween.
Apart from some of his short stories, I've never ready any Bradbury. Since we're on the cusp of Halloween, I gave this a shot.
This is a cute, fun story. Mr. Moundshroud teaches the boys about Halloween across the ages while they look for their missing friend Pipkin. There aren't a lot of childrens' books that reference druids, mummies, witches, gargoyles, and the day of the dead. It brought back memories of Halloweens past for me.
The prose is poetic and flows like water from a hose. Some of it has an almost Doctor Seussian flair. I'm not surprised there's an animated version. The book screams to be a cartoon.
Bradbury's influence on later authors can be felt in this one. I notice some phrasing that Stephen King has echoed but the writing shouted Neil Gaiman at me. Coraline, The Graveyard Book, practically all of Gaiman's prose owes a debt to Ray Bradbury. Hell, The Sandman probably also has some Bradbury in his family tree.
I probably missed the window for perfect enjoyment of this book by decades. Even so, I enjoyed it quite a bit. 3.5 out of 5 stars. Now I really want to track down the animated version. Leonard Nimoy as Mr. Moundshroud!
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