The Halloween Tree

The Halloween Tree

Downloadable Audiobook - 2008
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This is a superb contemporary classic by American literary treasure Ray Bradbury, best known as the author of Fahrenheit 451 and The Martian chronicles. The mysterious Mr. Moonshroud leads eight young boys on a journey back through the time to discover the true meaning of Halloween. Extraordinarily well acted, this story will send shivers of delight (and spine-chilling terror) through listeners young and old. You will want to take this trip many times over, long after the last candle has died in your jack-o'-lantern.
Publisher: [Ashland, Or.] : Blackstone Audio, 2008
ISBN: 9781433232190
1433232197

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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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