Study Guide

The Martian Chronicles The Million-Year Picnic

By Ray Bradbury

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The Million-Year Picnic

  • Timothy and his family (mom, dad, and two younger brothers, Michael and Richard) are off on a vacation on Mars. 
  • Timothy is old enough to know that something is a little weird.
  • They're supposed to go fishing, but Dad is nervous and sad, especially when he talks about Earth and the war going on there.
  • It turns out that the family isn't here for a vacation—they're staying on Mars forever. Dad saved a rocket for just this occasion. 
  • Although the younger boys are a little sad, Timothy tries to make it a game. He's in an in-between position—not yet an adult, but not a kid anymore either.
  • There's another family that might be joining them, a family with four daughters. (Hmm, try to do the math on that one.) 
  • The dad, William, blows up the rocket and burns a bunch of Earth papers, then he goes to show the family where the Martians are.
  • He brings them to a canal where they can see their reflection.
  • Get it? They're the Martians. 
  • Oh, Bradbury, you're so clever.

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