A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that A Wrinkle in Time is one of the great works of literature for kids. Besides being an exciting story, its messages of individuality, nonconformity, friendship and courage have inspired generations of readers. This is a wonderful book for kids who've ever felt "different" or lonely or who have wrestled with loss. It celebrates the power of individuality, bravery, and love. It's been adapted for the screen twice, once as a 2004 TV movie and once in 2018 as a big-budget Disney blockbuster. There's a good audiobook version read by Hope Davis.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
In A WRINKLE IN TIME, Meg's father, an eminent physicist, has been missing for two years. One night a strange old woman, Mrs. Whatsit, appears, "blown off course" while she, along with Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which, was tessering, or taking a shortcut through time and space. They take Meg, her little brother Charles Wallace, and their new friend Calvin, to rescue Dr. Murry, who is a prisoner on a planet ruled by IT, a giant pulsating brain that controls the minds of everyone on the planet. Charles Wallace also falls under IT's control, and when Meg finds her father, she discovers that he is not the invincible protector she thought he was. She must not only come to terms with this realization, but find a way to rescue them both.
Is it any good?
For many children, reading this book is a turning point in their intellectual lives, opening to them worlds of science and literary complexity. Those who like action and adventure enjoy its science fiction story, filled with strange creatures and Meg's showdown with IT. Preteens of both sexes can relate to the coming-of-age theme, with a hint of romance, and commentary on the value of individuality over conformity. And kids who aren't terribly popular enjoy watching an outcast become a hero, and doing so by finding that her faults are also her strengths.
Grown scientists who read A Wrinkle in Time as a child recall it as being the first book that encouraged openness to imaginative speculation, the root of all scientific inquiry and creativity. Parents who want to expose their children to women and girls who are passionate about math and science would do well to slip their child a copy of this book. Not only do Meg and her mother fit this particular bill, but Meg is also the one who wages the battle between good and evil.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about individuality, conformity, and personal growth. What does A Wrinkle in Time suggest about these ideas?
How is the Murry family different from most people in their community? At the beginning of the book, do you find them strange, and does your opinion change over the course of the story?
How does Meg change over the course of her adventure? What character strengths does she demonstrate?
- Author: Madeleine L'Engle
- Genre: Science Fiction
- Topics: Adventures, Brothers and Sisters, Great Boy Role Models, Great Girl Role Models, Misfits and Underdogs, Science and Nature, Space and Aliens
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Yearling Books
- Publication date: January 1, 1962
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 9 - 12
- Number of pages: 240
- Award: Newbery Medal and Honors
- Last updated: October 14, 2019
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