“After a few moments that seemed like forever to Meg, Mrs. Murry came back in, holding the door open for—was it the tramp? It seemed small for Meg’s idea of a tramp. The age or sex was impossible to tell, for it was completely bundled up in clothes. Several scarves of assorted colors were tied about the head, and a man’s felt hat perched atop. A shocking pink stole was knotted about a rough overcoat, and black rubber boots covered the feet” (L’Engle, 1962, p.16).
One “dark and stormy night” (L’Engle, 1962, p.3), Margaret (Meg) Murry and her family are visited by an eccentric old woman, Mrs. Whatsit. As she’s leaving, Mrs. Whatsit says to Mrs. Murry, “by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract” (L’Engle, 1962, p.21). The comment visibly startles Meg’s mother. Meg later discovers that term tesseract refers to a scientific concept that her father, a physicist and government employee, had been working on…before he mysteriously disappeared. Mrs. Whatsit agrees to help Meg find her father, taking her, her younger brother Charles Wallace, and her friend Calvin on a journey through both space and time.
Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time is a classic, Harry Potter type novel every tween should read.With elements of adventure, science fiction, and fantasy, the book will capture the attention of, and be enjoyed by, both boys and girls. The book’s larger theme of the battle of good vs. evil helps establish the book as a more serious work of fiction, rather than just a shallow story. Also impressive is the depicted family relationship. Though they face difficulties, they remain close-knit.
Genre: science fiction/fantasy
Reading/interest level: ages 9-12
Newbery Medal, 1963
Sequoyah Book Award
Lewis Caroll Shelf Award
Similar titles: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster