Family Fridays – A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle

Posted by on Jul 12, 2013

Book: A Wrinkle in Time (1962)

Series: The Wrinkle in Time Quintet

Genre: Children’s Fantasy / Children’s Science Fiction

Ages: 10 and up


It was a dark and stormy night; Meg Murry, her small brother Charles Wallace, and her mother had come down to the kitchen for a midnight snack when they were upset by the arrival of a most disturbing stranger.

“Wild nights are my glory,” the unearthly stranger told them. “I just got caught in a downdraft and blown off course. Let me sit down for a moment, and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract.”

A tesseract (in case the reader doesn’t know) is a wrinkle in time. To tell more would rob the reader of the enjoyment of Miss L’Engle’s unusual book. A Wrinkle in Time, winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, is the story of the adventures in space and time of Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin O’Keefe (athlete, student, and one of the most popular boys in high school). They are in search of Meg’s father, a scientist who disappeared while engaged in secret work for the government on the tesseract problem.

 A Wrinkle in Time is the winner of the 1963 Newbery Medal.


I have loved A Wrinkle in Time for decades. The writing style, which I can appreciate more as an adult, is clean and beautiful. It manages to be simple without being simplistic and never feels like it has been dumbed down for children. Written just over fifty years ago, it will ring just as true to children today as it has over the last half century. The story is a classic, the world building is unique and interesting, and the characters are well drawn. It is particularly wonderful for children who feel like misfits. I do remember being scared the first time I read it, which was well before the 10-11 years old that I see online as age guides, but as previously noted (often) I have always been easily frightened. I sometimes feel that books written earlier (such as Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia – see my review here) end up with higher age ranges than books being written now. Maybe it’s like how older movies had stricter guidelines for what got rated as PG-13, what got rated as R and so on.

There are five books in this series, with some branch off books about the Austin family. The Austin family books are good (at least the couple that I read) but more mature – I would recommend late junior high or early high school. The Wrinkle in Time Quintet is very good overall. I didn’t actually care for Many Waters, but the rest of the books I thoroughly enjoyed (though do be aware the themes get more mature as the series progresses). My second favorite is probably the last book: An Acceptable Time.

In order, the Wrinkle in Time Quintet books are as follows:

  1. A Wrinkle in TimeAmazon, Barnes & Noble
  2. A Wind in the DoorAmazon, Barnes & Noble
  3. A Swiftly Tilting PlanetAmazon, Barnes & Noble
  4. Many WatersAmazon, Barnes & Noble
  5. An Acceptable Time Amazon, Barnes & Noble

The full paperback box set (which is the version I have) is available here: Amazon, Barnes & Noble.

Apparently there’s a movie, but I haven’t seen it. Any of you seen it? Read any of Madeleine L’Engle’s works?

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  1. Beth Waits
    July 12, 2013

    Hello! So glad you posted on these books! I’ve always enjoyed Madeline L’Engle’s writing style. I’ve read the first three books in the series several times. I heard some mixed reviews about the last two books, so I put off reading them with the intention that I would “get to them later.” Then, of course, I kind-of forgot about the last two, until you posted about them today! So thanks for discussing those as well! I may just re-read the whole series.

    I actually didn’t read them when I was a kid (which I regret); I read them for the first time in college. I think I read the first book in one sitting, and I remember being genuinely delighted and uplifted (one of those “couldn’t-put-it-down” things). I think simplicity and beauty are great words to describe the story and her overall writing style. I remember being surprised at the deeper meaning, and I actually thought about it for several days after reading it.

    I think my favorite, so far, has been A Swiftly Tilting Planet; I can’t remember exactly why this one was my favorite, since it’s been awhile since I read it, but the others were great too. Anyway, thanks for posting. Just FYI, heard the movie was terrible/scary-weird (haven’t seen it). Have you read A Circle of Quiet by L’Engle? I read it a few years ago, and I would highly recommend it 🙂

    • lectorsbooks
      July 12, 2013

      Awesome! Yes, her writing is just fantastic. I vote “yes” on rereading the whole series! Although you can totally skip Many Waters if you want to – it focuses on the twins so you don’t get hardly anything of the rest of the family and it just feels very different. An Acceptable Time is pretty different too, but I really enjoyed it.

      I had thought about trying to track the movie down and checking it out, so thanks for the warning about it being weird! And I haven’t read A Circle of Quiet, but I’ll look into it!

      Thanks for stopping by! 🙂

  2. Annette Z
    July 12, 2013

    Aww Janie, I forgot how much I like her work. Funny thing is I didn’t care for A Winkle in Time til I saw it as a movie. However her book “Many Waters” I loved…I tend to like time travel and biblical fiction stories. I also like historical fiction as well, I have another author for you to read if you like historical fiction in England, her name is Philippa Gregory. She wrote “The Other Boleyn Girl” and few others, but check her out :). Happy Reading!

    • lectorsbooks
      July 12, 2013

      Thanks for the rec! I’ve heard of “The Other Boleyn Girl” but don’t know anything about it. Looks like I’ll have to do some investigating!

  3. Beth Hennings
    July 12, 2013

    A WRINKLE IN TIME holds up even for middle aged readers with wrinkles! I am a big fan of L’Engle, but actually prefer her non-fiction. My favorites are “A Circle of Quiet,” “The Summer of the Great-Grandmother,” “The Irrational Season,” “Two-Part Invention,” and “Miracle on Tenth Street.”

    • lectorsbooks
      July 12, 2013

      Ok, that’s two votes for A Circle of Quiet. I can take a hint! 🙂