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.