Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Wine

Ray Bradbury

William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2006
(originally published in 1946)

From the introduction by the author, “Here is my celebration, then, of death as well as life, dark as well as light, old as well as young, smart and dumb combined, sheer joy as well as complete terror written by a boy who once hung upside down in trees.…” pg xiii

The setting is Green Town, Illinois, 1928 and the book opens on the first day of summer break for a 12-year-old boy. He knows this summer will be the summer of his life. As we learn his story of summer, we also learn of the townspeople, hearing their stories of their personal tragedies and triumphs. It’s going to be a beautiful summer.

MAIN CHARACTERS:
• Douglas Spaulding, 12- year-old boy, celebrates this summer of knowing by keeping a list of all the things they do on a regular basis (like making Dandelion Wine) and all the things they do for the first time ever (like bartering for a new pair of tennis shoes)
• Thomas Spaulding, Douglas’s 10-year-old brother, and like all brothers (and sisters, for that matter) sometimes they hate each other and sometimes their best friends. This book is about Tom’s summer as much as it is Douglas’.

SECONDARY CHARACTERS:
• John Huff & Charlie Woodman, best friends of Douglas

TOWNSPEOPLE
• Old Mr. Sanderson, shoe shopkeeper, barters a pair of brand new tennis shoes for a few moments of youth given by Douglas.
• Leo Auffmann, a husband, father and creative thinker/inventor, invents a ‘Happiness Machine’. He ends up finding his own peace and learns that true happiness can never be manufactured; it simply is.
• Mrs. Helen Bentley, an old woman who was never, ever young—or so she learns at the hands of two 10-year-old girls and her long-dead husband.
• Colonel Farleigh, an ancient man “so thin you could see just how {he} had been put together, ball and socket, sinew and joint” (pg 89); he has a time machine that he willingly shares with Douglas and his friends.
• Miss Fern and Miss Roberta, two elderly sisters, while riding in their Green Machine committed a crime so heinous they left the scene and hid in their attic all day. What crime did they commit? I’m not telling!
• Mr. Tridden, the trolley man takes the boys and girls of Green Town on the final Trolley ride before retirement.
• Mrs. Clara Goodwater and Mrs. Elmira Brown of the Honeysuckle Ladies Lodge do battle over the presidency of the Lodge. Warning: witches and magic is involved!
• Bill Forester, newspaper man and Miss Helen Loomis, spinster, are two lovers trapped in the web of time
• The Lonely One, mysterious lady killer in town
• Miss Lavinia Nebbs, 31 year old maiden lady, goes to the movies with her friends and comes home to find – well, I’m not going to tell you that.

What a wonderful book. Not only is it beautiful in terms of descriptive scenes – descriptions that are poetry itself and ones I have tweaked into poetry – but the story itself is beautiful. It shows a time long past, never to be seen again. A time where boys could stay out ‘til midnight and be reasonably safe and their parents don’t start worrying until after. A time when life was filled with simple pleasures like imagination and picnics and the wonders of freshly mown grass and dandelion wine.

The more I read Ray Bradbury, the more I love his work. We got this book from the library, but I have asked mom to add this book to our collection. Simon really enjoyed Fahrenheit 451 and I Sing the Body Electric and wants to reread them. And I enjoyed Dandelion Wine immensely and will definitely reread again!

Rating 5 of 5 because the whole book is poetry disguised as prose.

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Reviewer: Toby

Here’s to an Unforgettable Summer: Ray Bradbury’s Most Personal ... RayBradbury.com

Some of the many covers of Dandelion Wine

Dandelion WineDandelion Wine by Ray BradburyDandelion Wine - Ray BradburyDandelion Wine by Ray BradburyDandelion Wine is a fine wine in the summer time.Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury35 - Dandelion Wine, by Ray Bradbury. Our book group July read.Click to view a larger cover image of Dandelion Wine by Ray BradburyDandelion Wine 50th Anniversary Edition [hc] by Ray Bradbury [OUT OF ...

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