Society has evolved to a place where a home can babysit and raise your kids for you, with a nursery that will bring to life anything your child imagines. George and Lydia Hadley were happy to purchase their Happylife Home so affordably, where lights turn on as you walk in a room and the house clothed and fed and rocked their kids to sleep. But something is awry in the nursery. The room is stuck on an African Veldt land with lions feeding and vultures looming- and this imaginary world feels all too real.
When George asks the kids about their African playground, the kids deny that's where they've been and when Wendy, his daughter, quickly runs ahead of George and changes the scenery, he knows they are hiding something.
Realizing that giving the kids everything they've ever wanted probably wasn't such a good idea, he begins to shut things down- including the nursery. But too little- too late, and at the end of the tale, George and Lydia finally realize why the screams coming from the nursery every night sounded so familiar.
Bradbury never fails to strike me with his descriptive wording- even in a short short story such as this:
"The hot straw smell of liongrass, the cool green smell of the hidden water hole, the great rusty smell of animals, the smell of dust like a red paprika in the hot air."
"Like a red paprika..." Hunh. Love that.
I'm also sensing, Bradbury really didn't like modern entertainment and the direction it's heading. He must have felt that eventually it would atrophy the brain and spoil the kiddos.
He was right.