Week Three: The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury [145 Pages]
So this weeks book isn’t exactly seasonally appropriate but I’ve been excited to read this book since I bought it purely because I loved the movie so much as a child and haven’t been able to watch it since. Ever since the collapse of Cartoon Network, I’ve missed out on a lot of the shows and films I loved growing up. Even those which came out on DVD very rarely come out for the British region. Which is kind of heart-breaking.
I recently watched the Nostalgia Critic’s review of The Halloween Tree animated film and was hit by the nostalgia of it and had a quick search to see if I could get the DVD and instead ended up with the book.
Unfortunately, I think that because I loved the film so much, the book was never going to live up to my expectations. It has a very similar tone to the film, but a lot of things were better represented visually. This is one of the very rare instances where I like the film more than I like the book.
For those of you who don’t know, the story revolves around a group of boys learning the different traditions behind their costumes. It’s by no means an accurate depiction of the whole history behind the modern day Halloween but for a story aimed at kids it does a good job.
The biggest downside for me is that it’s impossible to connect with any of the characters. You don’t learn most of the boys names until half way through the book and there’s a great deal of emphasis on how fantastic one boy Pipkin is. But we don’t learn how great he is through his actions, it’s just a chapter describing how absolutely amazing this one boy is.
What really saves this book for me is the artwork. Joseph Mugnaini has done a fantastic job sticking to the tone of the story with his illustrations and the book looks absolutely beautiful.
All in all, I would only reccomend this book as a way to teach kids a simplified version of the Halloween traditions.