I finally got my hands on a copy of Ray Bradbury's Dandelion Wine as a good book to savor this summer. What a treat. I am only half-way through, but I can tell you that it makes me want to be a 12-year-old boy living in a small town in the summer of 1928.
And what a change that would be!
The tale is really a series of short stories (or so it seems) and they are so beautifully and dreamily evocative of summer's fireflies and white clouds, grasshoppers and games on the lawn, wild blackberries and the sound of slamming screen doors.
Here is, to me, a breathtaking introduction to John Huff, the best friend of the main character Douglas Spaulding:
The facts about John Huff, aged twelve, are simple and soon stated. He could pathfind more trails than any Choctaw or Cherokee since time began, could leap from the sky like a chimpanzee from a vine, could live underwater two minutes and slide fifty yards downstream from where you last saw him. The baseballs you pitched him he hit in the apple trees, knocking down harvests. He could jump six-foot orchard walls, swing up branches faster and come down, fat with peaches, quicker than anyone else in the gang. He ran laughing. He sat easy. He was not a bully. He was kind. His hair was dark and curly and his teeth were white as cream. He remembered the words to all the cowboy songs and would teach you if you asked. He knew the names of all the wild flowers and when the moon would rise and set and when the tides came in or out. He was, in fact, the only god living in the whole of Green Town, Illinois, during the twentieth century that Douglas Spaulding knew of.