Thursday, October 29, 2015

The Halloween Tree

The ravine, filled with varieties of night sounds, lurkings of black-ink stream and creek, lingerings of autumns that rolled over in fire and bronze and died a thousand years ago.  From this deep place sprang mushrooms and toadstool and cold stone frog and crawdad and spider.  There was a long tunnel down there under the earth in which poisoned waters dripped and the echoes never ceased calling Come Come Come and if you do you'll stay forever, forever, drip, forever, rustle, run, rush, whisper, and never go, never go go go...

I don't know how I could have gone through so many Halloweens and never read this book.  It's absolutely stunning.   A group of boys, dressed and ready for trick-or-treating are led on a spooky trip by a mysterious character named Carapace Clavicle Moundshroud.  Part history lesson, part magic, part adventure story, the writing is pure poetry and magic realism at its most glorious.  On a crisp October night, make some hot cider, tuck your legs under a blanket, and read this book.

Eight boys, bedecked in Halloween costumes, letting the sheer exhilaration of being alive and out on this night pull their lungs and shape their throats into a yell and a yell and a... yeeeellll!

Ray Bradbury
illustrated by Joseph Mugnaini
(The cover artwork is by Leo and Diane Dillon)

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