A Wrinkle in Time is one of the best classic science fiction books for children, here’s why.
Title : A Wrinkle in Time
Author : Madeleine L’Engle
Publisher: Square Fish
A Division of MacMillan Books
My very first science fiction story was introduced to me by my elementary school teacher who read us “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle. A “Wrinkle in Time” is the winner of the 1963 Newberry Medal and offered young readers a trip into space, which compared to small mysteries and animal stories and fantasies was quite fun. I remember listening avidly in a silent room except for the teacher’s voice.
I recently read the story again, wanting to know what made it special. The first thing I noticed was how Meg Murry was quite a sympathetic character. Most children can identify with someone who is suffering from worry about her missing father during a scary storm and then having a brighter than average brother offer comfort because he can at least offer some alternative to the worry. And to find that they both are children of very bright parents and thought sub-normal is really an awful thing to hear. Who wants to be less bright than their parents? Or of other children.
One of the ways that stories are powerful for the young is by offering a way for them to step into someone else’s shoes that are quite different from their own experience or the same experience and have the wisdom of the character offer a way of dealing with the problem that they might not learn on their own.
What made this story especially attractive for me was the three inviting characters who offered up a trip to the children to help recover their father. Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsis, and Mrs. Which are found in an eerie old house populated by older women who know too much and have odd behavior. They offer up the explanation about how you can travel through time faster if you skip the in between distances by going from point A to point B by wrinkling space.
The dialogue is easy to read, as are the descriptions. “A Wrinkle in Time” by Madeleine L’Engle helps young readers imagine worlds different than our own. And it was my first introduction of elderly characters working with youngsters and aiding them, but not making the decisions. Instead Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsis and Mrs. Which allow the youngsters to take on their own tasks and either win or lose.