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

Lindsey Weise

I passed over these series as a child, although I remember wanting to know what the hype was about. I finally picked up this first book and gave it a try. I'll just come out and say it: I was almost annoyed with how bored I was reading this. I'm really confused as to why it was such a big deal! It felt like a short story! I've read a lot of children's books and none of them felt this...lackluster in regards to the content inside the story. I'm not saying I disliked the characters or the events. Those were fine. It felt like someone had the plot outline and then just turned that in as the book. There didn't seem to be much detail or emotion even in any situation in the book. It was like every third sentence had been chopped from the book. Kids are not complete idiots. They can deal with more detail or momentous situations. I'm going to keep reading the series in the second book and see if my opinion changes. I really hope it does change upon further reading.

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.

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.

Lisa Vegan

This is a beautifully told story that is basically about love. Important messages about family, friendship, being different, and standing up for what's right. Sci-fi for kids. It says 12 & up but most 9 to 11 year olds enjoy it also. L'Engle introduces concepts from science, philosophy, music, etc., with great imagination. And it's been one of my favorite books since I was 9 and my 4th grade teacher read it to the class. Then my 5th grade teacher read it to us. And then I bought the book for myself, and I still have that copy. I'm always surprised when people are not as enthusiastic as I am about this book. I always cry with emotion at exactly the same place near the end of the book...won't give anything away here. I reread this one every few years and it's a special experience each time. Oh, and I so love the original book cover art that's on the book I own. Leaves all to the imagination unlike the various newer covers.

Clark Hallman

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle has been on my “To Read” list for many years because I have an affinity for time-travel novels. However, it is a children’s book or it is probably more appropriately described as a “Young Adult” novel. For some reason, that deterred me from reading it. However, this novel has cred. In 1963 it won the Newbery Medal, which is awarded by the Association for Library Service to Children, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children. In addition, it is 7th in the Goodreads “Best Time Travel Books of All Time” list and 8th in the Goodreads “Best Time Travel Fiction” list. So, I read it now when I’m in my 60s and I enjoyed it very much (not because I’m in my second childhood either). This is a wonderfully written little novel that is packed with interesting, appealing, determined and brave characters. Meg, her extraordinary younger brother Charles Wallace, and their friend Calvin are transported to a very remote planet to attempt a rescue of their father from an evil imprisonment. Three benevolent beings took them on this rescue journey via a tesseract, i.e., a wrinkle in time that allows them to quickly move through time and space. However, the children must battle the evil by themselves. I found this novel to be a very enjoyable cocktail of science fiction, fantasy and adventure that left me with a sweet feeling at the end. Maybe I am in my second childhood! This novel is a worthwhile read for anyone.

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.

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.

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.

Book Elf

This is the first time a read a book of Madeleine L'Engle. I dunno what to say. I have mixed emotions on this book after reading it. I liked it and didn't like it at the same time. Maybe because it threw information about science, then it shifted to biblical ~ which I reckon didn't go well together. So I have the same impact on viewing this book. When they mentioned about a song that angels sing~ i recall what I have read in the Bible, in the book of Apocalypse, that those who were saved are singing a new song~ ...also, Aunt Beast said "We look not at the things which are what you would call seen, but the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporal But the things which are not seen are eternal." Isn't it the line that Paul said in 2 Corinthians 4:18? And I quote, "While we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal."So, I was really not so sure if i liked this book. It supposed to be fictional but the author has mixed the truth with her fiction. And I say that things that are true and sacred shouldn't be used as a part of her own created world.It has so many quotes from famous people too, which she can use, I have no objection on that part. I found the settings weird. The characters were all fallible and weird. So it felt weird reading this book. I was having a headache when reading this book.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Blair

Part of the way through this book I started wondering if the secret of writing a book for children is in the careful deletion of details. Maybe children aren't so closely tied to the words on the page and you must let them invent their own reasons for things - if the characters are there interacting, then it must be for a good reason, to say so explicitly would be to destroy the imagination. But I can't say this is the case with other children stories I've loved, including Little House on the Prairie and Chronicles of Narnia. The authors of those books make the effort to explain the connections between things, the motivation behind the action. The author of A Wrinkle in Time performs a literary tesseract (to use a term from the book) again and again. When the author wants to get from here to there, she merely brings the two together and, presto, it is done.

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.

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