The Halloween Tree by Ray Bradbury
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Mr. Moundshroud proves to be a delightfully light (read leaves on the wind) Virgil as he takes a group of kids on a roaring fast ride through time on Hallow's Eve to give us the "real" rundown on mummies, witches, druids, and all the creepy crawlies of history, summing things up with a quintessential Bradburian moral *and* prosaic reveal.
It's perfect for what it is: a totally fast YA ride that might get even better justice as a full production Spielberg production with a gazillion dollars behind it, with Disney and Lucasfilms playing a big role, with Neil Gaiman providing about a thousand hours worth of consultancy to boot.
Sound good? Yep! It needs a lot of firepower to amp it up and make it look absolutely spectacular and feel like it has the depth of ages. It feels like Mary Poppins and Bednobs and Broomsticks would if they were actually good movies. And maybe it could be an excellent movie, too!
But for me, I feel like I should have loved this long before I ever watched Nightmare Before Christmas.
It's all about timing. At my late age, I want to start taking exception to some of the conclusions that Bradbury makes, nitpick about the history, complain about the lack of girls, and give a horribly injust condemnation to the book because it lacks the whole modern Halloween and horror awesomeness that us moderns have to offer.
For shame! Shame on me!
But then, that's also the reason why I mentioned bringing in a bunch of the heavy hitters of today to update the tale. I'm sure THIS is one of those old books that could be turned into something special again for a whole new generation. It already has magic. :)
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