Dandelion Wine is a novel first published in 1957 by Ray Bradbury, an American writer famous for his science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories. Throughout his long career he was awarded many prizes, including the 2004 National Medal of Arts, the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters in 2000, and the Pulitzer Prize Special Citation in 2007.
Dandelion Wine is very autobiographical, as it portrays the life and experiences of Ray Bradbury himself through the eyes of twelve-year-old Douglas Spaulding in the summer of 1928. The fictional Green Town was based on Waukegan, Illinois and described in all its nostalgic, small-town glory just as Bradbury remembered it.
The novel is a collection of vignettes, loosely linked together through the experiences of Douglas and his brother Tom. Most of them were short stories before Bradbury worked to link them. Bradbury’s writing style is rich, sensory, and almost magical, making it immediate and memorable.
The work is one of Bradbury’s most beloved among readers and critics. It currently has slightly more than a 4 out of 5-star rating on Goodreads. The Washington Post called it "a haunting, nostalgic novel… DANDELION WINE is among the best of [Bradbury’s] earthbound works… He wrote about life on this planet in a richly poetic style that often makes the familiar world seem as fantastic and mysterious as the distant future or outer space." The Ft. Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel said, "the story captures the wonder and excitement of youth.” Famed writer R.L. Stine called Bradbury his favorite writer and said in an interview, “I think 'Dandelion Wine' may be the most underrated novel of all time. Every page makes me gasp. I read it once a year to remind myself what good writing is like.” Critics have placed the work in the tradition of Twain, Hawthorne, Anderson, Melville, and Whitman, as well as detected allusions to Shakespeare, fairy tales, and even Plato.
Bradbury published a sequel to the work in 2006 entitled Farewell Summer. That work, Dandelion Wine, and Something Wicked This Way Comes (which does not have the same characters but is set in the same town and is similar thematically) are referred to as the Green Town Trilogy.
The work has been adapted for a radio show and the stage; it was slated to be made into a film but this has not yet happened. In 1971, the Apollo 15 astronauts named a moon crater after Dandelion Wine.