The impossibility of pigeon-holding Ray Bradbury as a science fiction writer is once again emphasized in this charming philosophical study of adolescence. Douglas Spaulding at twelve is suddenly excitingly aware of the world around him, of the magic and wonder and understanding that had passed him by. His neighbors take on new dimensions. Death and old age as universal factors of living shock him to the depths. A country summer becomes something that must be seized and recorded with every passing hour. A friend who has been all-compassing moves from town; it is almost more than he can bear -- and he turns to his small brother with unexpected attachment. The dandelion wine becomes a symbol of successive events, week by week. This is not a novel. Rather is it a blend of nostalgic recall -- very definitely an adult remembering, interpreting, philosophizing over the brief period of awakening that belongs to adolescence, and episodes about incidents, often horrors, related to other people in the town. There's a succession of murders of young women; there's a newcomer, an old lady, who learns through the children not to cling to her past; there's a strange love affair between an elderly spinster and a young newspaper man; there's an ancient whose vivid reliving of his past brings history to life for the boy listeners. Douglas is now a central figure, now a participant, and frequently merely a passer-by in the lives of his elders. This demands rather special handling and understanding. The poignant quality of Bradbury's writing, the evocative elements that will capture others than his usual audience, combine to make this an unusual reading experience.