The Halloween Tree

The Halloween Tree

Downloadable Audiobook - 2011
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On a Halloween night, eight boys are led on an incredible journey into the past by the mysterious "spirit" Moundshroud. Riding a dark autumn wind from ancient Egypt to the land of the Celtic druids, from Mexico to a cathedral in Paris, they will witness the haunting beginnings of the holiday called Halloween.Ray Bradbury's evocative prose and imagery will send shivers of delight—and spine-chilling terror—through listeners young and old, long after the last candle has died in your jack-o'-lantern.
Publisher: Ashland : Blackstone Audio, Inc., and Buck 50 Productions, LLC, 2011
Edition: Unabridged
ISBN: 9781481545983
Characteristics: 1 online resource (3 audio files) : digital
audio file,rda
Additional Contributors: Pinchot, Bronson

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lexlothor
Oct 07, 2016

"The Halloween Tree" is a novelette that is aimed at young readers. The protagonists are eight boys from rural Illinois. Despite its fantasy concept it is semi-autobiographical on the part of Ray Bradbury. If taken at the level of a juvenile reader, the book and this full cast radio play adaptation work well. From an adult point of view this story is a bit shallow and condescending.

This story has all of the classic Bradbury elements: mystery, nostalgia, mood and poetry. To quote Boris Pasternak it is also petty bourgeois and self-indulgent.

I really question whether this audio version has any appeal to the intended audience. Kids today have the attention spans of fruit flies. I fear that they might easily become bored with it. There was an animated film based on this story made in the 1990's. With a few slight abridgements it picks up the action and flows more cleanly. Certain odd facts are addressed in that version. In the book one of the all-boy gang dresses as a witch for Halloween. In the animated film this character is a girl. I think that this change alone may be why my daughter loved the animated version as a child.

This audio production may however be used as excellent instructive material for 4th-8th grade classrooms.

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