For #s 4 and 42 of PopSugar Reading Challenge: a book set around a holiday other than Christmas and an audiobook
Date started: 3/4/17
Date finished: 3/5/17
This post is a up a little bit later than I wanted it to be. All year, I’ve been pining over this most haunting of days. In preparation, I spent the weekend watching 13 Days of Halloween on FreeForm, but I was a little disappointed that kid’s channels are not cashing in on the Halloween nostalgia and playing old Halloween specials (such as Halloweentown, etc). Really, in my opinion that is a real untapped market. As always let on from my awesome marketing ideas to today’s actual post. In honor of Halloween last week, today’s post will be about Ray Bradbury’s Halloween classic The Halloween Tree. Oh and by audio book, I basically YouTube searched a reading of The Halloween Tree and listened to it!
This slim book begins when eight friends ready to go trick-or-treating notice their friend Pipkin is not with them. So they mosy onto his place to check to see if he’s all right, what they discover is that Pipkin has been whisked away on a journey. This journey would determine whether he lives or dies. At the front of his house, the children are met by the mysterious Carapulce Clavicle Moundshroud. Moundshroud quickly introduces himself and then takes all of the boys on a trip through time. Over the course of their adventure, he takes them to Ancient Egypt, Ancient Greece, Ancient Rome, Celtic Druidism, the Notre Dame Cathedral in Medieval Paris, and the Day of the Dead in Mexico to understand the origins of the Halloween that they celebrate. At the same time, the boys learn the role of the fear of death, ghosts, and the haunts has played in shaping civilization.
At the climax of the story, Moundshroud explains to the children that in order for Pipkin to live each child must offer a year off the end of their lives. For instance, if the child was suppose to say die at the age of 78, he would now die at the age of 77.
Overall, the book was interesting and informative about the origins of Halloween through the eyes of children. It’s one of the few wonderful stories into the past that I can confidently say I enjoyed. Some parts I found were are a little confusing to understand at first such as the scenes from the Celtic Druidism period. However, Bradbury makes up for these moments by quickly explaining what happened and what everything meant.
My biggest problem is at the end of the story when the children have to sacrifice a year of their life for their friend. Why do the boys have to make such a big sacrifice to their life? They’re not going to know when they will actually die and simply leave it up to chance.
At the beginning of the story, is Pipkin already dead? As the story was progressing I was increasingly believing this. Pipkin is always an ahead of them and to me seemed like a spirit that the boys could never actually catch up to. And the fact that the boy’s had to give up a year of their lives to save Pipkin’s makes me wonder if he already died, and in reality the boy’s were resurrecting him by this sacrifice. Or if their experiences with Moundshroud was a figment of their imagination to cope with the death of their childhood friend? So many questions so little time!