Revolutionary Reading: Dandelion Wine.


Dandelion Wine
is a whole lot of summer in less than two hundred pages. It tells the story of young Douglas Spaulding, who lives in Green Town, Illinois. At the beginning of one summer, he and his brother decide to record the things they do in the summer, in order to keep track off the regular activites and experiences of children during that season — from buying a new pair of tennis shoes, to making dandelion wine — whose taste brings a bit of summer to even the longest and most dreary of winters and coldest of hearts.

Just why this little novel by Ray Bradbury is of interest to Comrades and Pencil People lies in lines like these:

He brought out a yellow nickel tablet. He brought out a yellow Ticonderoga pencil. He opened the tablet. He licked the pencil.

Douglas licked the yellow Ticonderoga pencil whose name he dearly loved.


For, you see, the main character’s pencil of choice is the Ticonderoga. Pencils figure strongly in this little book of wonder, even near the end of the story and the end of summer:

And then, quite suddenly, summer was over.
He knew it first while walking downtown. Tom grabbed his arm and pointed gasping, at the dime-store window. They stood there, unable to move because of the things from another world displayed so neatly, so innocently, so frighteningly, there.
“Pencils, Doug, ten thousand pencils!”
“Oh, my gosh!”
“Nickel tablets, dime tablets, notebooks, erasers, water colors, rulers, compasses, a hundred thousand of them!”
“Don’t look. Maybe it’s just a mirage.”

Dandelion Wine is a splendid read for anyone who remembers being a child in the summer and all of the little things we all did to stay cool and not bored — or for those who want to remember.

[Images, J.G. Special thanks to Matt Le Claire who recommended this book in a comment on Tom’s review of the Ticonderoda.]

7 Replies to “Revolutionary Reading: Dandelion Wine.”

  1. I have read a fair amount of Ray Bradbury’s works (e.g. Fahrenheit 451, R is for Rocket, S is for Space, The Martian Chronicles, etc.) But I have not read Dandelion Wine. At least not the entire book. When I was in the 5th grade I read The Sound of Summer Running. I did not know until now that it is actually a chapter from Dandelion Wine. I plan on reading the book this summer. The Sound of Summer Running is one of my favorite short stories, or now that I know better, chapters. I am also a big fan of yellow Ticonderoga pencils. I even use the thick (beginner’s) pencils.

  2. I finally read “Dandelion Wine.” I had a tough time finding a copy of the book. I looked in 5 used-books bookstores, without any luck. I finally decided to get a new one at a Barnes & Noble bookstore. I wish I had read the entire book when I was in the 5th grade. Thanks for the recommendation/suggestion to read the book.

  3. That’s one of my favorite Ray Bradury stories. Thanks for reminding me of it…I hadn’t thought about it in a long time.

    btw – I like pens and pencils too.

  4. Maybe you know this, but – . I purchased some Dixon Tri-Conderoga, and some Regular yellow and some black Ticonderoga pencils after reading about them and seeing their web site and history. As their web-site says, “a fine American name for a fine American pencil.” So I purchased them because I like to buy “Made is USA”. Boy was I disappointed. The 12 packs of the Tri-Conderoga and the yellow and black Ticonderogas in the green cardboard box say “Made in Mexico”. The clear plastic 24 pack says “Made in China”. Now I don’t know about you, but I think it is deceptive to play up their illustrious history and the “American Pencil” angle when they make them overseas by non-Americans. I don’t care what the “History” is if they are no longer made here. A Mexican or Chinese pencil is NOT an American Pencil! I wouldn’t have minded if they were honest about it so I was honestly informed. Thanks for listening.

    Charles H. Knaack

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