Tuesday, 28 May 2013

The Halloween Tree * Ray Bradbury

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury

A thousand pumpkin smiles look down from the Halloween Tree, and twice-times-a-thousand-fresh-cut eyes glare and wink and blink, as Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud leads the eight children - no nine; but where is Pipkin? - 

On a leaf tossed, kite-flying, gliding , broomstick-riding trip to learn the secret of All Hallows Eve. And they do. 

For all nine children, Halloween is their favourite holiday of all time. It's even better than Christmas. So when they all get dressed up in different costumes there's, The Skeleton, The Ape man, The Witch, The Mummy, The Beggar, and more! Though the group of lads can't start there night of Halloween and trick or treating without there good friend Pipkin, it's his favourite of all holiday's. 

Though reaching up to poor Pipkin's house, they find he is too ill to go. With the group of boys stuck in their tracks without their leader, Pipkin tells them to go to an old Gothic house just over the ravine. With the boys afoot and waving good-bye they make there way to the old dark house. 

Upon their arrival a big tree stands before them, covered in pumpkins all over the tree. After a little while the boys are soon introduced to Mr. Moundshroud, Mr. Death himself. And are soon taken on a whirlwind of adventures through time to find out what Halloween is really about. 
Do you know what your costume actually stands for on Halloween? How about a Mummy? Not all bandages and scares. Or what about a ghost? Do they just go bump in the night, or is it a lost cry for help? How about a gargoyle? Just to look mean and horrible, spouting out water from their mouths? No all these costumes do have a meaning, it just takes time for the eight children to find out.

But with Pipkin's fate hanging int he balance, will they find him in time before Halloween runs out and they loose a friend? See Pipkin was taken away by a dark thing, spirit if you will. And the only way they can get him back is if they go through time and history, back 1000 years ago to the land of the ancient Egyptians and apes in their caves, Mexicans on the Day Of The Dead, Gargoyles on top of their kingdoms and wicked Witches down in late Europe.

Following the sounds and small sightings of Pipkin being carried away through the different times, the boys and Mr. Moundshroud must hurry before time rums out. Will they get to him in time? And when they do, will they give up one year of their precious lives, to save his soul?

The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury is the second Bradbury book I have read so far and I loved it. After seeing it on the website and reading about it, I really wanted to get a copy of it and read it, but to my surprise alot of the copies even the used we're quite expensive. After constant searching I finally found a copy on ebay and snapped it up straight away.

I loved the whole idea of the book, and even though it was out before the film, I think Mr. Moundshroud is a bit like Jack Skellington in Nightmare Before Christmas, but darker. My favourite thing about the book was that it took you through different times in the world, it was like a history lesson, only fun! Haha.

I liked the way how he had linked the costumes to the actual things that happened in the past. And shown how Halloween can be scary but also a nice happy celebrations remembering loved ones.

Such as Tom dressed as a skellington, that took you back to The Day Of The Dead in Mexico where the people gathered in grave yards and decorated their loved ones graves to celebrate their lives.

And how in caveman times, Halloween came about because the Apes we're scared of the night as they never knew if the sun would come back in the morning, or if it would be dark forever so they we're constantly scared.

Then there we're the mummies, who also celebrated their loved ones lives by wrapping them and preserving them, and then placing the bodies in coffins. Then in a tomb with food and there belongings so they could eat and enjoy there lives on the otherside.

It all made sense to me and was great to read, it showed bravery, courage and firndship between the group of boys as they went on a journey to protect their friends. It was just wonderful how the characters we're created ams described.

All in all I thought this was a great book, full of imagimation. Though in some places I did find it was a bit repetative or that it felt like it was aimed at younger children (which, in ways, it probably is) But it was great none the less, and I loved the story line. A perfect book to read on the night of Halloween!

I will give this book, 6 out of 10

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