We read “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle with the three smallest kids, and they absolutely loved it. I remember liking it myself as a child, but I couldn’t remember actually reading it. We got Ashton the book for Christmas last year, but it is a little hard for him to read on his own, so we made it a family book. Just like we read “The Thief of Always,” it became our nightly routine of snuggle story time before bed. I enjoyed listening to Lindsay read it just as much as the kids I think.
The story is about a high-school girl named Meg, who comes across as fairly insecure yet loving in the beginning of the story, and grows in to a confident young woman by the end. Meg, her gifted brother Charles, and their friend Calvin embark on a journey through space and time to save Meg and Charles’ father, who had been missing for over a year. The journey is facilitated by a few beings, namely Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which, who all appear as humans on earth, but reveal themselves to be so much more once they lead the kids on their journey.
The book explores the idea of time travel, the existence of other beings who are much wiser and older than humans, and of course self discovery. While every time traveling child in the book is experiencing their own journey of self-discovery and growth, they are also reminded of other people’s strengths and the need to work as a team.
The only thing in the book that might be a deal breaker for some is the obvious Christian undertones. There is reference to God and Jesus and numerous symbolic scenes, although religion is actually never made implicit. It is interesting though, as many references are made by creatures or stars who have been around longer than humans, and thus seem like a contradiction to Christian literature. It’s a unique intermingling of Christianity and Quantum Physics, and thus has received criticism from both sides for either being too Christian, or anti-Christian. It seems to me that the reader will do with it what they want, and although there is direct reference to God and Jesus, there is also opportunity to explain differences in beliefs and room for exception. Our family is full of agnostics, so it did not derail our reading, but allowed us room for conversation.
I highly recommend this book to read with children, definitely ages 7 – 10, but maybe even younger. The vocabulary might be challenging for a child to read on their own, but when read as a family, it allowed opportunity to also have a vocabulary lesson every chapter or so. The book is part of a quintet, so I’m hoping we’ll read another one of the books… maybe “A Wind in the Door,” or “A Swiftly Tilting Planet.” We’ll see.