Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury is the author’s salute to his smalltown Midwest upbringing, and it conjures that essence of childhood more than anything else I’ve ever read. Themes of aging, death, the vicissitudes of time, and the loss of innocence are all handled with such beautiful subtlety that it casts a spell, seducing the reader into reminiscences of their own childhood. Bradbury’s descriptions are so amazingly unique it’s as if he’s inventing his own language for the summer and a child on the verge of knowing more about life than a mere child should. The mix of naivete and wisdom superbly captures the young protagonist’s desire to know more. This is a truly transformative read and evidence that Ray Bradbury was so much more than only an author of science fiction.