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).

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

Simple. Lazy. Boring. That’s all.

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.

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

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.

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

Almost as creepy a cover as the hangman edition.

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

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

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.

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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