Bibliographic information: A Wrinkle in Time. Madeline L’Engle. Farrar, Straus, and Giroux, 1962. $6.99. 211p. ISBN-13: 9780312367541.
Summary: Meg Murry is seen as a troublesome kid by her classmates and her teachers, but her parents she her as a little girl capable of great things. Her mother and father are scientist, her twin ten-year old bothers are athletes, and her five-year old brother, Charles Wallace, is a genius, however, her father is missing in action. One dark and stormy night, the Murry’s are visited by a Mrs. Whatsit, who comes in to dry her feet. Mrs. Whatsit tells Mrs. Murry that the “tesseract” is real, causing her to almost faint with disbelief. The next day Meg discovers the tesseract is a scientific concept that her father was working with before he went missing. Meg, Charles Wallace, and a friend, Calvin, venture out to hopefully find Meg’s father.
Reading level and interest level: RL: age 10 and up IL: age 9 and up
Review: This beautifully written novel is the winner of the Newbery Medal of 1963, among other awards and nominees. Meg Murry, Charles Wallace Murry, and Calvin O’Keefe are wonderful characters that grow and evolve throughout the book. They are brave, intelligent, and sincere characters that can either stand alone or work as a group. The worlds L’Engle has created are artfully crafted from elements of fantasy and science fiction the mingle into a whole new experience that will keep your mind reeling from beginning to end. Children will love the adventure and creative creatures who inhabit the various planets Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin visit. The adventure doesn’t end here, look for the sequels.
Readers’ annotation: Her father has gone missing and now Meg must travel through time and space to find him. What kinds of creatures will she meet on her travels?
Bibliotherapeutic usefulness: This book sends the message that if you put your mind to it, you can overcome any obstacle. Meg leads us on a quest of finding out who she is and how she can help others in the world. She started out not able to focus with her studies, but turned out to be able to focus her skills she did have and use them productively. Teens who have trouble focusing in school will see this character and be able to understand that they are not alone, others have the same problem, but there are ways to get passed it.
Issues present: This book has been challenges countless times since it was published in 1962. People thought that it was not appropriate for the age group. There is some violence and even some manipulation. Also, people either felt that it was overtly religious or anti-religious depending on how you looked at it. And the supernatural creatures were seen as satanic. Children are very resilient and a book like this opens the imagination and helps them cope with parts of their lives that they have a hard time explaining.
Booktalk ideas: Introduce Meg, Calvin and Charles Wallace’s characters.
Talk about travel through time and space.
A land of many creatures…
Genre or subject: Science fiction and fantasy: supernatural monsters, religion
Readalikes: The Golden Compass, The Chronicles of Narnia, Alice in Wonderland
Author’s website: http://www.madeleinelengle.com/
Awards: Newbery Medal (1963), Sequoyah Book Award (1965)
Reviews: Kirkus Reviews: http://www.kirkusreviews.com/book-reviews/madeline-lengle/wrinkle-time-lengle/
Why I chose it: This book is a classic and has been challenged many times over the years. It is a great addition to anybody’s collection.