Review: The Halloween Tree

The Halloween Tree - Ray Bradbury, Joseph Mugnaini

This should be read every October, and the style really works well with being read aloud. Though I believe I'm basing that on my remembrance of the animated film of The Halloween Tree, I think it's probably true. [Wikipedia for the text here.]


A few quotes:


p. 4 "...Anyone could see that the wind was a special wind this night, and the darkness took on a special feel because it was All Hallow's Eve. Everything seemed cut from soft black velvet or gold or orange velvet. Smoke panted up out of a thousand chimneys like the plumes of funeral parades. From kitchen windows drifted two pumpkin smells; gourds being cut, pies being baked."


p. 18 "...Until they stood at last by a crumbling wall, looking up and up and still farther up at the great tombyard top of the old house. For that's what it seemed. The high mountain peak of the mansion was littered with what looked like black bones or iron rods, and enough chimneys to choke out smoke signals from three dozen fires on sooty hearths hidden far below in dim bowels of this monster place. With so many chimneys, the roof seemed a vast cemetery, each chimney signifying the burial place of some old god of fire or enchantress of steam, smoke, and firefly spark. Even as they watched, a kind of bleak exhalation of soot breathed up out of some four dozen flues, darkening the sky still more, and putting out some few stars."


You could quibble with Bradbury being too fond of simile and metaphor, and that would be fair. Still I feel it gives a great adventure story take on why we still celebrate the holiday, with enough atmosphere to make it seasonal. And I'm probably biased since I have always enjoyed Day of the Dead.