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Dandelion Wine

Dandelion Wine

4.0 79
by Ray Bradbury

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Ray Bradbury's moving recollection of a vanished golden era remains one of his most enchanting novels. Dandelion Wine stands out in the Bradbury literary canon as the author's most deeply personal work, a semi-autobiographical recollection of a magical small-town summer in 1928.

Twelve-year-old Douglas Spaulding knows Green Town, Illinois, is


Ray Bradbury's moving recollection of a vanished golden era remains one of his most enchanting novels. Dandelion Wine stands out in the Bradbury literary canon as the author's most deeply personal work, a semi-autobiographical recollection of a magical small-town summer in 1928.

Twelve-year-old Douglas Spaulding knows Green Town, Illinois, is as vast and deep as the whole wide world that lies beyond the city limits. It is a pair of brand-new tennis shoes, the first harvest of dandelions for Grandfather's renowned intoxicant, the distant clang of the trolley's bell on a hazy afternoon. It is yesteryear and tomorrow blended into an unforgettable always. But as young Douglas is about to discover, summer can be more than the repetition of established rituals whose mystical power holds time at bay. It can be a best friend moving away, a human time machine who can transport you back to the Civil War, or a sideshow automaton able to glimpse the bittersweet future.

Come and savor Ray Bradbury's priceless distillation of all that is eternal about boyhood and summer.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"Owing both to Bradbury's storytelling skills and Audie Award winner Stephen Hoye's excellent rendering of the characters, these adventures will translate to listeners as shared memories. Highly recommended for all libraries and the many kids---no matter what age---they serve." ---Library Journal Audio Review

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HarperCollins Publishers
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Chapter One

Itwas a quiet morning, the town covered over with darkness and at ease in bed. Summer gathered in the weather, the wind had the proper touch, the breathing of the world was long and warm and slow. You had only to rise, lean from your window, and know that this indeed was the first real time of freedom and living, this was the first morning of summer.

Douglas Spaulding, twelve, freshly wakened, let summer idle him on its early-morning stream. Lying in his third-story cupola bedroom, he felt the tall power it gave him, riding high in the June wind, the grandest tower in town. At night, when the trees washed together, he flashed his gaze like a beacon from this lighthouse in all directions over swarming seas of elm and oak and maple. Now . . .

"Boy," whispered Douglas.

A whole summer ahead to cross off the calendar, day by day. Like the goddess Siva in the travel books, he saw his hands jump everywhere, pluck sour apples, peaches, and midnight plums. He would be clothed in trees and bushes and rivers. He would freeze, gladly, in the hoarfrosted icehouse door. He would bake, happily, with ten thousand chickens, in Grandma's kitchen.

But now-a familiar task awaited him.

One night each week he was allowed to leave his father, his mother, and his younger brother Tom asleep in their small house next door and run here, up the dark spiral stairs to his grandparents' cupola, and in this sorcerer's tower sleep with thunders and visions, to wake before the crystal jingle of milk bottles and perform his ritual magic.He stood at the open window in the dark, took a deep breath and exhaled.

The street lights, likecandles on a black cake, went out. He exhaled again and again and the stars began to vanish.

Douglas smiled. He pointed a finger.

There, and there. Now over here, and here . . .

Yellow squares were cut in the dim morning earth as house lights winked slowly on. A sprinkle of windows came suddenly alight miles off in dawn country.

"Everyone yawn. Everyone up."

The great house stirred below.

"Grandpa, get your teeth from the water glass!" He waited a decent interval. "Grandma and Great-grandma, fry hot cakes!"

The warm scent of fried batter rose in the drafty halls to stir the boarders, the aunts, the uncles, the visiting cousins, in their rooms.

"Street where all the Old People live, wake up! Miss Helen Loomis, Colonel Freeleigh, Miss Bentley! Cough, get up, take pills, move around! Mr. Jonas, hitch up your horse, get your junk wagon out and around!"

The bleak mansions across the town ravine opened baleful dragon eyes. Soon, in the morning avenues below, two old women would glide their electric Green Machine, waving at all the dogs. "Mr. Tridden, run to the carbarn!" Soon, scattering hot blue sparks above it, the town trolley would sail the rivering brick streets.

"Ready John Huff, Charlie Woodman?" whispered Douglas to the Street of Children. "Ready!" to baseballssponged deep in wet lawns, to rope swings hung empty in trees.

"Mom, Dad, Tom, wake up."

Clock alarms tinkled faintly. The courthouse clock boomed. Birds leaped from trees like a net thrown by his hand, singing. Douglas, conducting an orchestra, pointed to the eastern sky.

The sun began to rise.

He folded his arms and smiled a magician's smile. Yes, sir, he thought, everyone jumps, everyone runs when I yell. It'll be a fine season.

He gave the town a last snap of his fingers.

Doors slammed open; people stepped out.

Summer 1928 began.

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
"Owing both to Bradbury's storytelling skills and Audie Award winner Stephen Hoye's excellent rendering of the characters, these adventures will translate to listeners as shared memories. Highly recommended for all libraries and the many kids—-no matter what age—-they serve." —-Library Journal Audio Review

Meet the Author

In a career spanning more than seventy years, Ray Bradbury, who died on June 5, 2011 at the age of 91, inspired generations of readers to dream, think, and create. A prolific author of hundreds of short stories and close to fifty books, as well as numerous poems, essays, operas, plays, teleplays, and screenplays, Bradbury was one of the most celebrated writers of our time. His groundbreaking works include Fahrenheit 451, The Martian Chronicles, The Illustrated Man, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes. He wrote the screen play for John Huston's classic film adaptation of Moby Dick, and was nominated for an Academy Award. He adapted sixty-five of his stories for television's The Ray Bradbury Theater, and won an Emmy for his teleplay of The Halloween Tree. He was the recipient of the 2000 National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, the 2004 National Medal of Arts, and the 2007 Pulitzer Prize Special Citation, among many honors.

Throughout his life, Bradbury liked to recount the story of meeting a carnival magician, Mr. Electrico, in 1932. At the end of his performance Electrico reached out to the twelve-year-old Bradbury, touched the boy with his sword, and commanded, "Live forever!" Bradbury later said, "I decided that was the greatest idea I had ever heard. I started writing every day. I never stopped."

Brief Biography

Los Angeles, California
Date of Birth:
August 22, 1920
Place of Birth:
Waukegan, Illinois
Attended schools in Waukegan, Illinois, and Los Angeles, California

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Dandelion Wine 4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 79 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I started reading Dandelion Wine, I didn't really like it. In fact, I started to regret choosing it, and I wasn't sure if I would be able to get through the rest of the book. The style of writing wasn't what I normally read, and I felt like a lot of the descriptions and scenes just dragged on too slowly. I also didn't care about the characters, and this made the stories less intriguing. I was irritated that many of the stories didn't seem to connect with each other. However, once I got further into the book, I enjoyed the stories to a greater extent. Once I read more, I could get more involved with the characters and feel their emotions, whether it was happiness, grief, or anger. I got used to Bradbury's descriptive style, and the action of the stories made reading the book more enjoyable. The more I read, the more I saw that the stories were weaved together, so that even if one story was unrelated to another, they all contributed to the overall theme of the book. Bradbury's stories were thoroughly original, and the characters were all unique and memorable. It was fun to read about happiness machines, time machines, and childhood games. I liked that Bradbury's stories always seemed to have a 'moral' included. His overall message seemed to be that we should enjoy our lives, our families, and the time that we have to be happy. By the time I reached the end of the book, my initial take on Dandelion Wine was completely turned around. I would definitely read this book again, and I would recommend it for others to read as well
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will take you back to childhood b4 electronics to a time when bicycles ruled and new sneakers meant you could run faster and jump higher. One of the best literary works ever.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Incredible. Bradbury captures the feelings of childhood that you had forgotten you had or weren't old enough to appreciate at the time. An amazing book and one that I'm sure to read every couple years.
Lauren_H More than 1 year ago
Some books pull you in and don't let you out, until they end and even sometimes after. This book didn't hold you hostage like some, but that doesn't mean it was boring. The writing was very beautiful and vivid. I could see everything; the words were so descriptive. In some ways, it actually did draw me into the world of Dandelion Wine because the writing was so clear, but the exit to reality was always clear. This book is a coming of age book. The main character, Douglas, is exploring life and if you love or even like books like that, you will enjoy this book. Also if you enjoy books that describe the earlier twentieth century, you would enjoy this book. This book is almost like a bunch of short stories, but they all tie into the themes of the book, which is accepting life but also death, enjoying the now, living life, and looking to the future. The view flirts back from person to person, but always returns to Douglas; to tell his story. The lesser characters also help tell this story. They are so individual, but they all teach you the same lessons, or themes, from this book. They are suspecting, wise, thoughtful, charming, foolish, frightened, brave, happy, regretful, hilarious, positive, inventive, hateful, and brilliant. From the inventor Mr. Leo Auffmann and his happiness machine, to wise Mr. Jonas and his "no ordinary junk" wagon, these characters show how much personality a little town can have. I also enjoyed the symbolism in here, because there were quite a few examples, the dandelion wine, grandma's kitchen, the "colored window panes on the little round windows", the happiness machine, Colonel Freeleigh and even the green machine, are parts of the story, but also more. These "symbols" delve into the reader's imagination and they also invite the reader to look deeper into this charming little world titled Dandelion Wine. Sadly there are some parts that I didn't like, very few, that were a bit to morbid for me. I didn't enjoy some parts towards the end, but on the whole I really enjoyed this book. I think you should read this book if: you love books that describe a coming of age, the 1950's roughly,(like I said above,) beautiful writing inspires you, exquisite characters make you laugh, you need to laugh, you enjoy thinking, a book you can put down sounds good write now, wise catch phrases or quotes, (because you can get many from this book,) you have read way to many sad books and you are in a rut because of that, or you need to come to peace with death and living, because this book will help you in all of this. You shouldn't read this book if: you hate reading, you hate books, you hate paper because it kills trees, you love fantasy, that includes dragons and swords so much that, that is all you can read. Seriously I don't really think a lot of people would hate it, but some might find it a little boring. I definitely don't though. I seriously recommend this book to anyone who is willing to hear my opinion.
Ericalovestoread More than 1 year ago
This book made me remember what being a kid was like. The innocence, the point of view, everything is just absolutely incredible. How he can describe the way he viewed the world as a child is amazing to me. This book is a true inspiration and lets you look at life as if every moment is something to savor. I ended this book feeling as though I haven't lived life to its fullest and made the most of every day as I did as a child. I'd recommend this book to absolutely anyone!
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book is absolutely amazing!! the imagery is great! This book brought back so many memories. Those who don't understand this book or dont like it, probly didn't open up thier imagination. I highly recommend This book, Dandelion Wine.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The style of writing in this book is so perfect. I can understand how some people wouldn't like it because it switches to different stories in almost every chapter but that's what makes it so enjoyable. I loved the characters. For me it was kind of hard to get into it but about one third of the way through I started really enjoying it. Everything is detailed in such a unique way. I love Ray Bradbury books but I would recommend this to adults mostly or people who want to relive childhood innocence.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love reading books about childhood and coming of age because they take me back to the times when everything in my life was an adventure and nothing was taken for granted. This is a truly beautiful book which does just those things and more. I recommend it to everyone. When you read it, pay special attention to the life of the old woman.
Guest More than 1 year ago
The frist few pages capture you because of its vivid description. After you get a movie on and the momentum builds up then the full effect starts kicking in. it may take a while to appreciate, but trust me it's worth the hours to read it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I had to read DANDELION WINE for my 8th grade Spectrum class, and I have to admit that is WAS pretty boring for awhile. Doug's supposed to be the main character and hardly anything happens to him. But once you get to The Lonely One's big role, it starts to get interesting. It's not my type of book, but it DOES make you think.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have read this book over and over many times throughout my life and it has never failed to provide some new insight with each reading. Mr. Bradbury has a way of looking inside of the reader and sharing his most personal experiences. The next best thing to actually re-visiting childhood. Highly recommended for any reader with an imagination and a yearning heart.
Guest More than 1 year ago
whoever says this book is boring did not finish the novel. I am 19 and it is the only book throughout high school I was made to read and actually finished. The book is kinda slow in the begining but once it get started, it expands your imagination, the way he descibes things is like no other writing. If u say it was boring its because u did not keep reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful, heartfelt rendering of growing up in small town USA.
arcade_veteran70 More than 1 year ago
Mr. Bradbury must ponder a lot about life and death. In this novel, he covers every facet of the topic through metaphoric characters and objects. The meaning of "dandelion wine" itself parallels Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle" - the ability save a moment so that we might relive it again. Memorable moments in the book include the sadness of retiring the trolley, and the salesman who tries to sell grass that never needs to be cut. It's the smell of cut grass that signifies the "official" start of Summer. A very entertaining, though philosophical, book that will make you see the World a little differently after you've finished it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is one of my all time favorite books. It truly captures what it is to be 12 in the summertime..The description of Douglas when he buys his tennis shoes is wonderful. The storyline about the 'Lonely One' is reminiscent of all the urban legends of my youth.. This book is a real classic, but perhaps you must be far removed from youth to appreciate it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
The book Dandelion Wine, like the substance after which it is named, preserves the memories of summers past that can never be regained. It recalls to us the magic of coming of age in a time more innocent than today. If the book has a hall-of-mirrors quality, that only helps the reader see oneself in every facet of a youth's existence in a mythical town of the American midwest. Dandelion Wine is a spell that will transport you into a new life whenever you open the book's covers.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Dandelion Wine is a wonderful and beautiful book that should be cherished by both young and old. In reading some of the less enthusiastic reviews, I've noticed that the authors are all somewhat younger. Perhaps they weren't so thrilled with the novel because, being young themselves, its truths seem so obvious, or so abstract- simply because they're living the author's words. I'm young myself, but I can't imagine NOT being able to relate to the revelations contained within. Read it and love it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Such a great book. My mom read it when she was my age and she loved it, so do I! It's a really discriptive and beautifully written book. I recommend it to anyone, and great to read in those long summer months.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was so good. I'm glad my Honors English Teacher made us read it. It makes you feel like a kid again.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Bradburys use of figurative language and imagery makes this book a stylistical masterpiece.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I'm fifteen years old and I understood this book perfectly well. It's written in such a way that I cry every time I read it and laugh at the comparisons to my life. This book is definitely a little deep, but it's great reading. It shows how simple things in life are actually really important and what life means to different kinds of people. There aren't many people who understand those things, but Ray Bradbury is definitely one of them. Go read it!
Go4Jugular More than 1 year ago
If you can get yourself in the mindset of the late 1950s, when this novel was first released, you will discover a wonderful memoir of summer as seen through the eyes of two young brothers. From the first press of dandelion wine, to the last adventure of the season, all of the wonders and the freedom of the summer months is brought to life by the incomparable Ray Bradbury. There are poignant moments, outright funny stories, and one of the best suspense/horror chapters I can recall. While this book has an older publishing date, by no means is it dated. It would be perfect to start in the coming weeks, as our own summer is just around the corner!
Nabiha_s More than 1 year ago
I rated this book a 3 because I did not think it suits me. I am definitely not saying that this book doesn't deserve the respect. This book has a lot of great things in it and it can relate to life in may ways.I recommend this book to all ages because of how perfectly it is written.This book is about a boy that grew up with his grandparents. He grew up with a lot of magical adventures and different feelings.One chapter everything is going normal and the next is something tragic. All in all, I recommend this book to someone that is interested in reading a really good classic.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Challenging read, very confusing sense the main character mixes reality with imagination, but also a time worth spent reading.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a must read for the beginning of each summer. I sit here in the January cold of (really) upstate New York waiting for the first warm breath of summer to spend time once again with my old friend. John Grisham's Painted House is another coming of age story that returns us a simpler life that only a small town boy can experience.