A Wrinkle in Time (Time Series, #1)

ISBN: 0821925326
ISBN 13: 9780821925324
By: Madeleine L'Engle

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Childhood Childhood Favorites Children's Childrens Classic Kids Sci Fi Science Fiction Series To Read

About this book

Now, 40 years after A Wrinkle in Time was first published to become one of the landmark books in childrens' literature, Square Fish is proud to present this Newbery Medal winner, completely redesigned and with bonus material, including an appreciation by Anna Quindlen, a new interview with Madeleine L'Engle, and the author's Newbery Medal acceptance speech.Everyone in town thinks Meg is volatile and dull-witted and that her younger brother Charles Wallace is dumb. People are also saying that their father has run off and left their brilliant scientist mother. Spurred on by these rumors, Meg and Charles Wallace, along with their new friend Calvin, embark on a perilous quest through space to find their father. In doing so they must travel behind the shadow of an evil power that is darkening the cosmos, one planet at a time.Young people who have trouble finding their place in the world will connect with the "misfit" characters in this provocative story. This is no superhero tale, nor is it science fiction, although it shares elements of both. The travelers must rely on their individual and collective strengths, delving deep into their characters to find answers.A classic since 1962, Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time is sophisticated in concept yet warm in tone, with mystery and love coursing through its pages. Meg's shattering yet ultimately freeing discovery that her father is not omnipotent provides a satisfying coming-of-age element. Readers will feel a sense of power as they travel with these three children, challenging concepts of time, space, and the power of good over evil. (Ages 9 to 12) One stormy night a strange visitor comes to the Murry house and beckons Meg, her brother, Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin O'Keefe on a most dangerous and fantastic journey—a journey that will threaten their lives and our universe.Meg Murray, her little brother Charles Wallace, and their mother are having a midnight snack on a dark and stormy night when an unearthly stranger appears at their door. He claims to have been blown off course, and goes on to tell them that there is such a thing as a "tesseract," which, if you didn't know, is a wrinkle in time.Meg's father had been experimenting with time-travel when he suddenly disappeared. Will Meg, Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin outwit the forces of evil as they search through space for their father?

Reader's Thoughts

Vicki

L’Engle, Madeleine,1962. A Wrinkle in Time. Farrar, Straus and Giroux. The children of scientists, Meg and Charles Wallace Murry are both extraordinarily intelligent and unique. Four-year-old Charles Wallace, who lets people continue to think he’s a moron because it “gives people something to feel smug about” and sees no reason to disillusion them, has the special ability of being able to communicate with others without hearing them speak. Meg, a math wiz who is frequently getting into fights with other children at school, spends most of her time thinking about her father who has been missing for the last few years. Along with the help of three unusual characters – Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which, the children embark on a journey through the fifth dimension – the tesseract, to save Mr. Murry from a mind-controlling brain called IT. This science fiction/fantasy novel portrays characters that have compassion and integrity. The fate of the world rests on the children’s shoulders, but they are empowered through the use of their own personal qualities – communication, logic and love. Value is placed on individuality, loyalty and courage, and even though the children doubt themselves at times, in the end, their determination conquers evil. The concepts and beliefs introduced in A Wrinkle in Time are still significant and time has done little to alter the relevance of the message. Each character in the book has an individual voice made real through the use of dialogue and character description. This Newbery Medal Winner is the first of four books in the Murry family series. Readers who enjoyed Lois Lowry’s The Giver may also like this book. Ages 10 and up.

Nandakishore Varma

After coming to this book with high expectations, I must say I was disappointed. Since it is hailed as something of a children's classic, I expected something more than the rather insipid fare presented. Madeline L'Engle seems to have set out to write a children's fantasy with a lot of Hard SF concepts, but have ended up with a familiar "Good-versus-Evil" story in the Christian tradition, cluttered with a lot of half-cooked scientific concepts which are never more than cursorily explained.For example, the key concept, the "tesseract", is explained as “the fifth dimension”. The author says, through the character of Mrs. Whatsit:"Well, the fifth dimension’s a tesseract. You add that to the other four dimensions and you can travel through space without having to go through the long way around. In other words, to put into Euclid, or old-fashioned plane geometry, a straight line is not the shortest distance between two points."Well, she is wrong on many counts here. The tesseract is actually a hypothetical figure of the mathematical fourth dimension, whose “faces” consist of three dimensional cubes, the same way the faces of a normal cube consist of squares. In fact, if you square a square, you get a cube: if you square a cube in the fourth dimension, you get a tesseract. (Interestingly enough, this point is well captured by L’Engle: only, she sees the fourth dimension as time. This is Einstein’s concept, and totally independent of the mathematical fourth dimension.)[To be fair, I have to add that although the author misses base totally with the basic concept, I found the title of the book is a nice way to describe the concept of a wormhole: however, apart from using this methodology to keep on jumping from one planet to another, this interesting topic is not developed further.]The parents of the protagonist, Meg, are scientists. Meg is a typical “difficult” child-bad at academics and rebellious at school, but brilliant. Her parents, being scientists, can see beyond outer appearances, so they are tolerant of her faults: her teachers and society less so. When the story begins, Meg’s father is missing, ostensibly on a secret mission for the government. But all the neighbours think that he has gone off with another woman, and the snide remarks she keeps on hearing do nothing to improve Meg’s already belligerent personality. The only person who understands her is kid brother Charles Wallace, a boy who is officially a moron but endowed with psychic powers in reality.It is into this situation, on a stormy night, that Mrs. Whatsit walks in. She, with her companions Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which (nice play on words here: Mrs. Who wears glasses and quotes from classics reminds one of a wise owl, and Mrs. Which flies on a broom and keeps on appearing and disappearing, as if by magic) are fighting against the “Darkness”, which Meg’s dad is also fighting. They whisk away Meg, Charles and neighbourhood kid Calvin across many universes and dimensions. It seems that the kids have been destined to fight the Darkness: which they do on the frightening planet Camazotz, and in true fairy tale tradition, initially lose and then win. And that’s the story in a nutshell.As fantasies go, this is pretty standard fare, considering the time in which it was written. However, the novelist must be commended for bringing the whole good-versus-evil battle into a wider canvas than the traditional Christian one: Einstein, Gandhi, Buddha, Da Vinci etc. are also seen as warriors of the Light along with Jesus, and the Darkness is never identified with the concept of Sin or the Devil. In fact, the description of Camazotz with its mindless inhabitants and their rigid adherence to discipline is positively chilling in its resemblance to a totalitarian regime (the nonconformist child being forced to toss the ball again and again, crying with pain at each practice… brrr!).But ultimately, the novel fails to deliver. Meg’s father’s experimental project ends up as just a plot device. The author seemed to have started out with a lot of ideas at the outset, but seems have lost track of them as the novel progressed: in the end, only the rescue of Meg’s father and his reunion with the family is given any focus. The whole background story remains extremely inchoate. And as a fearless female protagonist, Meg does precious little except at the very end.Still, I give the novel three stars for introducing a lot of interesting concepts to its young audience. In its time, it must have "ignited a lot of minds" (to borrow a phrase from our former President, Dr. A. P. J. Abdul Kalam) and encouraged them to travel along the adventurous trail of scientific discovery.

Philip

My favorite theme/topic in books is time travel. I've always thought it would answer all of the arguments in the world. I mean, Hawking says it's possible, right? And generally, scientifically speaking, his word is gold. Granted, he did say one time that the absence of tourists from the future is a pretty good argument against it. Well, besides... it's not like time travel doesn't exist... it's just that we only know how to progress (and often regress) forward through it.So, I liked this book for what it brought to the time travelling table. And believe me, there's already a lot there... just google it if you don't believe me.I read the fourth (and I think it was the final) book of this series when I was a kid. I loved it. I don't know why I never got around to the beginning.I wasn't a big fan of the plot itself, or even the characters... huh... I'm starting to wonder if 4 stars is too generous. Nah. Time travel takes the cake for me. Takes the cake.

Ryan Ford

Wow! I forgot what a great book this is. I read the four Madeline L'Engle books when I was a kid, but it was C. S. Lewis that I read over and over again. "A Winkle in Time" is really a classic piece of children's literature though, and deserves much attention.To all of the normal readers out there, that's all I have to say. Read it again! It will only take you about two hours or so, and it is well worth it. To the Lost Book Club peoples:There are a few things in this novel that might reflect on the Lost T.V. show. First, I mentioned how, like Stephen King's "The Stand," this book actually mentions another book on the Lost Book List. Actually, this book quote's Shakespear's "The Tempest." I haven't yet read "The Tempest," but it was the last play fully credited to the author, and although it wasn't a hit in its day, it is now considered a masterpiece, and perhaps his best play (at least according to Wikipedia.)So here are the quote's from "The Tempest" that occur in "A Wrinkle in Time." Both are recited by Mrs. Who:"We are such stuff as dreams are made on."-Prospero, in "The Tempest"pg. 81 in "A Wrinkle in Time""... For that he was a spirit too delicateTo act their earthly and abhorr'd commands,refusing their grand hests, they did confine himBy help of their most potent ministers,And in their most unmitigable rage,Into a cloven pine; within which riftImprisoned, he didst painfully remain..."pg 101 in "A Wrinkle in Time"Without thinking to much on it, I thought that the second quote might be some referece to the character Jacob on Lost. He is kind of a mystery character at this point.Also, there is a quote later on in "A Wrinkle in Time" that is from the Bible." Although it is not on this Lost Book List, on the first list I saw, it was included. I need to go back and watch the first season (maybe this summer,) but I think that Locke either quotes or reads the Bible."The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are called, but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things that are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring nought things that are."1 Corinthians 1:25pg 201-2 in "A Wrinkle in Time."I haven't really thought of any correlation between Lost and this quote, but maybe because it could be related to any number of characters. (Locke, Ben,...)Okay, one more quick quote from the book. Meg, the main character of the book, comes across an alien species in her adventure. This alien cannot see, and has no concept of seeing. It considers such a thing to be primitive. It knows things without seeing them. Anyways, this alien gives this quote, which I think is pretty neat:"We look not at the things which are what you would call seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal. But the things that are not seen are eternal."Kinda cool when you consider that the island cannot be seen from the outside. In fact, you could say that the people on the boat can not see it, but they know that it is there...The last thing in this book that might have relation to the series is actually quite a big part of the book. Actualy, it is practiaclly the basis of it. Meg's mother and father had speculated on the "Tesseract," which is a theory that allows one to travel great distances in a short period of time. Rather than traveling very fast, such as at the speed of light, "Tessering" is more of a connection of two places at the same time. There is a couple of pictorals on pg. 76 that explain it in a simple manner. However, it really only explains the distance part of it, and doesn't really explain the element of time. In physics, the fourth dimentson is time, and in the book "A Wrinkle in Time," the fifth dimension is a tesseract.So how could a tesseract be part of the Lost series? Well in the last few episodes, we have seen some people get off of the island by means of a helicopter. There was some sort of time delay between the island and the boat that nobody can really account for, however. Although this is perhaps the opposite of what happens in "A Wrinkle in Time," they both have properties of... abnormalities in time and space.Kinda weird! As is the show.

Ruben

I'm sorry to disappoint you guys, but I did not think this was a great book. I realize I'm just now reading a book you've all loved for years, so I feel bad knocking something that's such a classic in children's literature. But honestly, it was a drag to read, and I'll tell you why. The characters are all either boring (Meg, Calvin) or unbelievable (Charles Wallace). The non-Earth settings are fully disconnected from each other and simply parodies of our world. The pacing is painful, with conversations that drag on and on while the characters discuss the obvious. I rarely found the writing clever or charming, but I did enjoy the plentiful quotations of other works (maybe because it was a break from L'Engle's writing), and I liked the part where Mrs. Whatsit sprained her dignity. If you want clever, read Snicket; if you want human, read Rowling; if you want epic, read Tolkien; if you want mind-bending, read Verne; if you want funny, read White or Cleary. I was looking for these things here but couldn't find them.

Jessica

"It was a dark and stormy night."After reading on a friend’s blog that she had recently read this book, I was tempted to do a re-read myself. I was sure I had read it at some point in my childhood, and remember finding it magical and engrossing. So when I came across the book in the thrift store for 99 cents, I couldn’t resist. Once I started reading it, though, it became clear to me that I had probably never read this book before in my life. Not one thing about it seemed familiar to me, except maybe for the centaur-like creatures (but that could be because the book cover features this image). Even though I would have read this more than a decade ago, I still think I would have remembered something about it (for example, I remember aspects of Maniac Magee quite clearly, and I read that ages ago). So I’m not quite sure where I got the idea that this book was fantastical and wonderful, but those were my expectations going in.I’ll admit I was a little let down. I did keep in mind while reading that it’s a children’s book first and foremost, but I couldn’t help but feel that it was a little disheveled in places. I loved that the protagonist is female, and quite ordinary (braces, mousy brown hair, glasses), even if she was slightly annoying at times (I imagine all 14-year-olds can be annoying). Time travel is always cool, and the unfamiliar planets (especially Ixchel with its sightless, faceless creatures) were incredibly fun to imagine. The crazy Mrs Ws were very interesting, and if their stories are continued in further books in the quartet, I’d be all over that.The story itself is great – the classic battle of good versus evil in a sci-fi / fantasy setting. The manifestation of evil as a dark cloud reminded me of The Nothing from The NeverEnding Story (loosely). The themes of individuality, love, and acceptance carried strongly throughout; even though they were almost shoved in the reader’s face, I’m ok with that since it is a children’s story.What I didn’t like, primarily, was the character of Charles Wallace. For some reason, he really creeped me out. I understand he is supposed to be “gifted,” but his words and actions seemed far too adult for a 5-year-old. I also wasn’t a huge fan of the religious references made in several places in the story. Too many mentions of “God” turn me off. However, I am willing to admit that it was quite daring of L’Engle to mix religion with some pretty heavy pagan aspects, like witches and crystal balls. Overall, I did enjoy the story and definitely appreciate the themes and values, I was just turned off a little as an adult reader. I also spotted the aforementioned Maniac Magee in said thrift store, but I’m hesitant to re-read that book because I’m worried it might not be the same to me now as it was when I was young.

Khalid

A Wrinkle in Time is a children's fantasy novel with a significant element of science fiction; its thoughtful ideas, intriguing plot and amusing conversation style make it enjoyable to read; yet, it often borders on being overdone.The novel tells us about Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin, and there travel in the universe in order to rescue Meg and Charles Wallace's father. Just like every rescue novel, this was not exactly easy. The novel was generally good; however, it had some problems in my opinion. I do not like it when novel try to push knowledge down your throat, especially on matters like religion. They do that a lot in children's novels, assuming that children aren't smart to pick up implications on their own (so they just put it right out). Children are smart, and they do understand; we should not underestimate them. This novel did try that with many subjects, not just religion. My other problem with this novel is how far the author's imagination gets sometimes. I like some imagination, and don't mind it, but this gets too much. A good fantasy novel, in my opinion, should give the reader enough enforcement of the world rules they have already been shown before bringing up new rules or exceptions. Why is it almost different every time they tesseract? The story doesn't give enough feel of consistency.

Sara

the book that first inspired me to tentatively pick up my pencil and my marbled black-and-white composition notebook (remember those?) and write (in 4th grade). the influence l'engle herself and her work have had on my life cannot be understated. i met her many many years later, during college, when she was well into her 80s, but she was exactly as i pictured her-- spirited, engaging, challenging. when i (very nervously and shyly) told her that she gave me my first inspiration to write, she looked me in the eyes and, with a genuineness in her tone i can't describe, thanked me. i gave her my book to be autographed. she signed in it an handed it back to me. as i walked away, i read her inscription, which said, with love and a flourish, "ananda!" i admit it-- i had to look it up to find out what it meant and when i did, my respect for her grew even deeper (i won't get into the entire background of the word/name here, you can google it yourself). "ananda" means bliss or joy. it was so perfect, i nearly cried. an amazing book and an amazing woman.

Sarah Null

I read this when I was in fifth or sixth grade and I loved it. Re-reading it as an adult, I realized there was no way my eleven-or-twelve-year-old brain could have fully appreciated this masterpiece. After all, I am no Charles Wallace. Sure, the book has fantasy elements like travel through time and space, magical beings, and other worlds, but this is so much more than a children's hero tale. This is a beautiful book about love, good over evil, being different, and what happens when we realize our parents aren't perfect and we have to grow up and do things for ourselves.

Bryon

I started reading "A Wrinkle In Time" when I was 8 or 10. I say started because I never finished it. I can't remember exactly why, but I think it kind of scared the crap out of me. Now, 15 or 17 years later, I've read it again (this time the whole thing) and there's really nothing scary at all about it. It's possible that, as a kid, I was somehow relating this book to the terribly scary Disney movie "Something Wicked This Way Comes". Again, I don't know why.Whatever the reason for my fears, the book is not spectacular. Maybe I can't see it now being older and not reading through the eyes of a child, but I can't understand how it won the John Newberry Medal. The witches were plastic and seemed to serve little purpose; the bad guy, a concept embodied in a shadow, had no motivation (if you want to read about true darkness for the sake of darkness/nothing for the sake of nothing, pick up Michael Ende's "The Neverending Story"); and the father, who seems to have no backbone and no sense of decency when it comes to saving his son. It has been said that the father character is an excellent tool in showing children that parents do not always have the answers, that they are, in fact, fallible and (God forbid) imperfect. But it's so much more than that. He comes across as weak, helpless, foolish, and even heartless at times. If you want to write a story where a child finds out that his/her parents aren't perfect, you don't have to make the parental figure a cold, bumbling idiot. Unless that's what you're going for. And I certainly don't think that L'Engle was. But all that aside, why would you even want to tell that story? Part of the beauty of being a child is you get to hold onto the illusion that mom and dad are Superman. Why ruin that? Granted, some kids live in terrible families, but there are better ways to write about those scenarios. This is not it.I wanted to give this book 2 stars but decided that, because of my jaded, critical age I cannot judge too harshly. Plus, I did like the savant character of Charles Wallace. He was cute. As was the love that Meg and him shared. Calvin, on the other hand, was a complete throwaway character.If I had kids, would I push this book on them? No. If they picked it off my bookshelf and started reading it, I wouldn't stop them. But I'm not about to recommend it to anyone young or old. Unless it's too ask that person to help me understand what the big deal is.

Keith Mukai

This is a short, easy read that rates a 4.4 on the Flesch-Kincaid reading index (meaning that it requires a 4th-5th grade reading level). But that's based strictly on the sentence structure, vocabulary, paragraph size, etc.What the stats don't cover is the depth of feeling and the profound scope and meaning in this book. Madeleine L'Engle's sentences may be rather simple but her notions of good, evil, love, and devotion are taken to a cosmic level (literally). This isn't mere sci-fi or fantasy; it's gorgeous, breathtaking Humanism. L'Engle never talks down to her child/young adult audience; though she aims at their level there are plenty of weighty, inspiring themes for adults to savor. The child-centric focus gives it a level of simplicity, yes, but also a kind of intense purity. She brilliantly weaves in issues relating to childhood, adolescence, parent-child relationships, maturation, acceptance, social stigma--all of which make the book utterly relatable, even when the kids are transplanted to fantastic or awful new planets in far off galaxies.There are some religious overtones, but they're really more cosmic than religious (even the stars in the galaxy are fighting the great darkness). She uses some of the language of Christianity to express her notion of universal love, but I don't think that should be seen as making this a Christian text. As an agnostic-bordering-on-atheist none of the language turned me off. Christians are free to embrace it as a wildly expansive view of Christianity but non-believers should be able to see that she has a vision that goes beyond the language used.I can't do the book full justice here. Just pick it up and engross yourself in it. It's only about a 4 hour read for most adults and easily well worth it.Do enjoy.

Cary

Before anything else, I'd like to remind myself why I've been really meaning to read this book. This a Newberry medal award winner in 1963, and since most of the Newberry Medal books that I've read were really good, i assumed I will also find this one entertaining.However, contrary to my assumption, I did not find it as entertaining although I really appreciate how it was written in such a way that you will really have to pay attention it and exercise your imagination to the highest level while reading it so i think this book is just OK.

Matthew

The question is, after The Chronicles of Narnia and The Lord of the Rings, what excuse does an author have for writing YET ANOTHER fantasy-land novel that corresponds to a Christian world-view? What Madeleine L'Engle brings to the table is a cursory knowledge of astronomy, the imagination of a brown paper sack, and half-assed characters designed only to demonstrate her personal beliefs.

Savannah

Madeleine L'Engle is a Christian writer, more so even than C. S. Lewis in my opinion. However, while the influence of Christian Theology (and in later books, biblical history) is woven throughly through out all the books in this series, it is not offensive to non-Christian readers. I am one of those. To be completely honest, when my mother first read me this when I was about 7 years old, I was totally oblivious to the influence L'Engle's faith has on her writing. It wasn't until I was twelve or thirteen, when I read the entire series several times over, that it became obvious to me. But I digress. What really makes this book (and others in the series) has nothing directly to do with the writer's faith. It has to do with the different types of non-sexual love found between family, friends, society, and the individual. I know, big thing for a Children's novel, but it generally is shown rather then told thereby allowing young children to learn by example.Going back to the faith thing for half a second, it's like a large parable for how the New Testament (Protestant Christian, any how) advises people to form relationships and maintain them. We are to love and respect our parents, even when the world doesn't. Meg believes in and loves her father, even though he has some odd theories and has been missing for years. We are to care after our siblings regardless of personal quibbles, again like Meg and her brothers. WE are to show compassion for our neighbors despite what other members of our society think (See Calvin's friendship with Meg and Charles) and To care for them even though it might mean personal risk, as in some of the later scenes. Over all, it demonstrates a non-sexual love as one of the most powerful forces in the Universe. And this is a moral lesson that every faith can embrace.

Wealhtheow

Meg has glasses, braces, an incredible talent for math, and absolutely no patience for bs or mediocrity. She protects her genius little brother, Charles Wallace, against the cruel taunts of the villagers. And she gets into fights over her parents' reputation on a weekly basis. She is pretty much the best character in the entire world. I would read a novel about her even if it were about the mundanities of village life. Instead she, Charles Wallace, and her schoolmate Calvin (smart, handsome, popular--and dirt poor) become involved in a battle that spans time and space. So basically, this is the perfect novel. I recommend this to anyone, especially kids in the 3rd-6th grade.

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