Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?
Adolescent Beliefs – Gee Whiz, Pa! Also, rather dark and eerie.
Bradbury takes on the world from a kid's point of view in this novel. Many of the supernatural horrors that Will experiences, for instance, can easily be chalked up to the play of shadows at night, as when he watches the train pull into town, or the magic acts of a professional traveling carnival, such as when Mr. Electrico is being zapped. In this novel, however, it becomes rapidly clear that dark and mysterious deeds are actually underfoot. The Dust Witch flies in a balloon to mark Jim's roof with silver slime. Miss Foley actually goes missing. Scary as these events are, we do see them as the kind of story a thirteen-year-old boy would tell to scare his buddies around a campfire. The horror, for instance, of Silence of the Lambs is the kind of horror that exists outside the realm of imagination of young boys. The horror of Something Wicked This Way Comes is all about the imagination of young boys. Perhaps that's why it's Disney-movie scary, not rated-R scary.