Dandelion Wine

For my first attempt at judging a book by its cover, I’ve decided upon a personal favorite that I have read (and re-read) over the years: Dandelion Wine, Ray Bradbury’s overshadowed masterpiece (see: Fahrenheit 451).

It’s been around a long time so its cover has been reincarnated a number of times. I’m writing from my phone so enjoy these screen shots – I’m lazy (see: Bachelors in English Literature).

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While I appreciate the lower-casing of all type on this cover, the art feels like a secondhand painting left over from my grandmother’s estate sale.

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The most captivating thing about this cover in the notification that its intro is penned by King Stephen. The art itself has a Summer of the Monkeys vibe. But at least this rendition of Douglas knows how to firmly grasp his belt by the thumbs.

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I actually kind of like this one. It’s a little misleading in that it appears to be about a boy who enjoys creating cryptic chalk drawings of crop circles, which in itself sounds like an interesting plot but is not a part of the actual story.

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Don’t be fooled. There are no penguins in DW. But at least they got their branding firmly in place.

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Easily the sexiest of the cover options, though why the cover of a book about a 12-year-old boy needs to be so erotic, I couldn’t tell you. I guess the marketing department was shooting for the good ol’ “sex sells” angle.

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Simple. Lazy. Boring. That’s all.

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Probably my favorite of the bunch. It’s actually pleasing to look at and ties in with the first chapter which sets the overall theme of the novel. I wish I owned this version.

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Nothing says summer fun like a dead man hanging from a tree. Childhood nostalgia at its best.

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I’ve owned this version. It’s an odd choice given there is no female character so prominent in the plot as the woman is in this art.

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I actually like this one for its simplicity, bold green hues, and attempt to make you think it won the Pulitzer Prize in 2007.

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Almost as creepy a cover as the hangman edition.

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Another one I actually really like as it blends modern with classic cover design artfully and thematically.

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I own this one in hardback. It’s pleasing to the eye in its dreamy qualities but lacking in overall creativity.

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This one has the previous design swallowed up by an 80s reprint feel going for it. It is having a crisis of identity and my heart goes out to it in the midst of its struggle.

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Classic silhouette motif with Roald Dahl-esque lettering. The dandelion as the dot of the “I” is a nice touch.

There are about a hundred other covers but I think I’ve judged a fair amount at this point.

More importantly, DW is innovative in its approach to make each chapter a self-sufficient and independent vignette on summer in small town America, and yet it all ties together in a seamless and breathtaking novel. This should be required reading regardless of the cover art.

But which one do you judge best?

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