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All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury

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“All Summer in a Day” is a 1954 science fiction short story by Ray Bradbury. It is about a class of children on Venus who are eagerly awaiting the one day every seven years when the rain will briefly stop and the sun will shine.

Non-Spoiler Summary In A Nutshell:
Rain Margot is a nine year old girl whose family moved from Earth to Venus when she was four. She remembers the sun shining on Earth – something that it rarely does on Venus. All of the rain and cloud cover on her new planet are affecting her emotions, but her chance to see the sun once again is quickly approaching. The story takes place on the one day when the rain will stop and the sun will shine for a couple of hours. All of the children in Margot’s class are eagerly awaiting their first glimpse of the sun, but when the teacher leaves for a few minutes they decide to pull a very mean prank on Margot.

The children pressed to each other like so many roses, so many weeds, intermixed, peering out for a look at the hidden sun.

It rained.

It had been raining for seven years; thousand upon thousands of days compounded and filled from one end to the other with rain, with the drum and gush of water, with the sweet crystal fall of showers and the concussion of storms so heavy they were tidal waves come over the islands. A thousand forests had been crushed under the rain and grown up a thousand times to be crushed again. And this was the way life was forever on the planet Venus, and this was the schoolroom of the children of the rocket men and women who had come to a raining world to set up civilization and live out their lives.

“It’s stopping, it’s stopping!”

My Two Cents:
I remember reading “All Summer in a Day” when I was in grade school, and only recently did my sister remind me of it. A great short story that is full of many lessons.

• The good:

  • A classic Ray Bradbury story!
  • The writing is superb! This is Bradbury at his best with some amazing descriptions of the rain, the jungle and even Margot’s health.

• The bad:

  • Ugh! This story really tugs at your heart-strings! I admit it… I almost cried.
  • It will make you hate bullies even more!

Fact Sheet:
• Page Count: 4
• Word Count: 1,942

“All Summer in a Day” garnered the following awards:

  • Although this short story never won any major awards, the 1980 book Stories of Ray Bradbury (which included this story) placed sixth on the 1981 Locus Poll for best single author collection.

Where you can find “All Summer in a Day”:

  • This short story first appeared in the March 1954 issue of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction.
  • “All Summer in a Day” has been collected in many anthologies – most recently in the 1990 version of Stories of Ray Bradbury – a great collection of many of his pre-1980 short stories.
  • You can read a free version of this short story at FanFiction.net.

Find The Stories of Ray Bradbury at Amazon.com

Related Yet Still Interesting Links:

  • The cloud cover of Venus provided science fiction authors with a plethora of ideas for stories and novels. Take a look at Wikipedia’s article for information about other stories set on Venus.
  • “All Summer in a Day” was made into a short, 25 minute film in 1982. Here is the IMDB page about it, and a link to a YouTube version as well.
  • Did you know that Ray Bradbury has more than five hundred published works – including short stories, novels, plays, screenplays, television scripts, and verse? Yep. You can learn more about this prolific science fiction author at his official web site.

Craving More Stories?
If you enjoyed this story then you may like Star Light, Star Bright, a story about supremely gifted children, by Alfred Bester.

10 thoughts to “All Summer in a Day by Ray Bradbury”

  1. Yeah,

    I like it. This is a story that many grade school children (in the USA) read in class. Its probably one of the first scifi stories I ever read!

  2. I loved the poetry (the images of the rain and forest). And how he gave life, almost character, to the sun and the rain.

    Although, on the logical side: isn’t Venus hot as hell?

    Ray wrote a great story called “The one Who Waits.” This one should be made into a movie! It had me on the edge of my seat. Something is living on Mars . . .

  3. I agree Cali – the imagery in this story is amazing! And yes, I believe that Venus is actually very hot, but perhaps in 1954 not many people knew that.

  4. I read this story in gradeschool, and never forgot it. I have thought of it often in the twenty or so years which have passed since then, but had no hope of remembering the name or the author.
    I decided tonight to do a google search of it, for no apparent reason (probably because Venus was on my mind from having recently read “The Black Star Passes” by Campbell), and found The Union AV Club article which included questions from a bunch of people with my exact problem.

    Nice blast from the past, and now, when authors and titles have somewhat more meaning to me, it is good to know.

    As for Venus: this was written over ten years before the first probes of Venus told us anything about its surface temperature. It is quite warm there (~735 D K), but–while it was believed to be hot–it was not known that the temperature was nearly that high at the time of writing.

    Luke D.

  5. Thanks Luke,

    I first read it in gradeschool too. I wonder if current gradeschool children still have to read it? I hope so, it is a great introduction to science fiction literature.

  6. “All Summer in a Day” is an ok story, I think its called speculative fiction, whatever that is, not really science fiction, since there is very little of it and the story could take place anywhere. It seems rich in meatphores and similes, of which I can give no examples. Thank you. PS I think I saw a study guide page for it, free.

  7. I had my sixth graders read this story and they hated it! Why? Because they didn’t like the kids’ behavior towards Margo.

    I was floored. The majority of the kids just wanted a happy ending. Too bad, but I’m still going to use the story next year. It is too good to cave in to the “happy ending only” people.

  8. Hey Vickie,

    I guess I can see your students’ point of view, but I agree that you shouldn’t stop using this story, there are just too many situations in real life that don’t have happy endings – so better get used to it now!

    Maybe you should have them read Just Before Recess by James Van Pelt, that ending should please them much more! 😉

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