Image: A gnarled brown tree sits in front of a full yellow moon. Houses sit on either side of the tree. Silhouetted trick-or-treaters point at the tree in wonder.

KidLit Book Review: The Halloween Tree by Susan Montanari and Teresa Martinez


“I don’t like lights, I don’t like decorations, and I don’t like people,” declares a young pine tree. As he grows, his determination not to grow into a Christmas tree gnarls his branches so that he becomes a twisted, spooky old tree.

When some inventive children discover him, he begins to change his mind, but discovers it’s too late to fulfill a Christmas destiny.

Then the parents threaten to cut the ugly tree down and the children save him in a way that makes everyone—including the tree—happy.


  • Title: The Halloween Tree
  • Author: Susan Montanari
  • Illustrator: Teresa Martinez
  • Cover Artist: Teresa Martinez
  • Publisher: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky
  • ISBN: 1492673358
  • Publication Date: August 6, 2019
  • For Ages: 3-6
  • Category: Picture Book
  • Spooky-Scary or Spooky-Fun? 🎃 Fun.

I’d like to thank Sourcebooks Jabberwocky for providing a copy via Edelweiss+ in exchange for review consideration.


The Halloween Tree is a funny, heartwarming story about a very special (and very grumpy) tree that finds its place in the world and learns to appreciate love and friendship. Teresa Martinez’s warm illustrations are full of personality and humor, and Susan Montanari’s sweet prose makes this book imminently re-readable.

Image: Five children play in the boughs of a gnarled brown tree against a light blue sky.

The Halloween Tree celebrates the joy and freedom of imaginative play and suggests that all people (and trees!) can find their unique purpose if given enough time and enough support to do so. Perfect for Halloween, Christmas, or any other day of the year, this charming, life-affirming picture book deserves to become a dual holiday tradition.


We need more Halloween trees! I give this book 4.5 out of 5 coffins.

4.5 Coffins

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