Publishers Weekly - Audio
Hope Davis narrates this engaging new audio production of L’Engle’s classic novel. When the troubled and underachieving Meg Murry’s physicist father goes missing, Meg—along with her younger brother, Charles, and friend Calvin—warps across the universe in an attempt to find him. The trio is aided by three angels, Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who, and Mrs Which, who use Dr. Murray’s mysterious tesseract project to whisk the children through space and time. Davis delivers pitch-perfect narration that captures the spirit of the author’s prose. She also creates distinct voices for the book’s many characters, most notably the petulant Meg and enthusiastic Calvin. Listeners are in for a real treat—and longtime L’Engle fans will delight in Davis’s outstanding performance, which breathes new life into this acclaimed fantasy title. Ages 10–up. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
1998 marks is the 35th anniversary of A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. To celebrate, Bantam Doubleday Dell is publishing two wonderful new editions of L'Engle's Time Quartet, including A Wrinkle in Time; A Wind in The Door; A Swiftly Tilting Planet; and Many Waters.
In both the new digest and the mass market editions, each title includes a new introduction by the author. Covers of the digest editions are illustrated by Caldecott Honor illustrator Peter SÝs, and the mass market edition covers are illustrated by renowned science fiction and fantasy illustrator Cliff Nielsen.
From the Paperback edition.
Winner of the Newbery Medal in 1963, L'Engle's work of fantasy and science fiction combined with some Christian theology has now been read by several generations of young enthusiasts. The author went on to write three others, forming a quartet based on the Murry family, and including themes like the power of love and the need to make responsible moral choices. In this story, Meg Murry, her extraordinary little brother Charles Wallace, and schoolmate Calvin O'Keefe make the acquaintance of eccentric Mrs. Whatsit and friends (who turn out to be extraterrestrial beings). Together they journey through a wrinkle in time, a tesseract, to rescue the Murrys' missing father from an evil presence (likened by some interpreters to a black hole), and a sinister brain called IT. Although this is fantasy, the characters are portrayed realistically and sympathetically; it is Meg's ability to love that enables them to return safely to Earth and make secure the right to individuality. L'Engle herself claims that she does not know how she came to write the story; "I had no choice," she says, "It was only after it was written that I realized what some of it meant." A plus with this new edition is an essay by Lisa Sonne that explores scientific concepts related to the storymultiple dimensions, dark energy, and string theory. Each of these concepts were conceived since the book's 1962 publication but are amazingly applicable to A Wrinkle in Time, and help to ensure that this imaginative book will be read for a long time into the future. 2005 (orig. 1962), Laurel Leaf/Random House, Ages 9 up.
Barbara L. Talcroft
School Library Journal - Audio
Gr 5–9—The 50th anniversary of the publication of Madeleine L'Engle's Newbery award-winner, A Wrinkle in Time (Farrar, 1962), has spurred the rerecording of her science fiction/fantasies. Highly praised, A Wrinkle in Time launched what became a succession of books with intergalactic, intracellular, and time travels featuring socially-challenged Meg Murry, her younger brother Charles Wallace, and friend Calvin O'Keefe, who later became Meg's husband. In Wrinkle, they rescue Meg's physicist dad from the clutches of "It"—a mind-controlling entity. A Wind in the Door (Square Fish, pap. 2007) has Meg, Calvin, and fantastical creatures slipping into the mitochondria of a very-ill Charles Wallace. In A Swiftly Tilting Planet (Square Fish, pap. 2007), a teenaged Charles Wallace transcends time and danger to alter history so the world is no longer threatened by a belligerent dictator. Though Calvin is out of town, Charles is assisted by a grown, pregnant Meg through mind-to-mind flow. Though written decades ago, all three novels connect with current headlines on bullying, societal conformity, dangerous microorganisms, and potential threats of nuclear aggression. After an introduction spoken by L'Engle, Hope Davis narrates A Wrinkle in Time with careful intensity. Narrator Jennifer Ehle brings verve and emotional clarity to the other two titles. The sound quality is excellent. While some listeners who have enjoyed these titles originally read by L'Engle may miss the author's interpretation of her text, they will find that Davis and Ehle add youthful energy to these works. L'Engle's modern classics are school and public library standards, and these new recordings are a very good way to fill in any gaps.—Barbara Wysocki, Cora J. Belden Library, Rocky Hill, CT
Read an Excerpt
From the New Introduction
A Stardust Journey with A Wrinkle in Time
By Lisa Sonne
A Wrinkle in Time was written before any human had walked on the moon or sent rovers to Mars. It was a time before cell phones and personal computers, before digital cameras, CDs, and DVDs, before the fiction of Star Trek, Star Wars, and The Matrix, and before the realities of the space shuttle, the Mir space station, and the International Space Station. Science has changed dramatically as generations of children and adults have read the book since it was first published in 1962. Those scientific advances make Madeleine L’Engle’s story even more compelling.
The author of A Wrinkle in Time is a tall woman who sometimes wears a purple cape. She will tell you that she is completely made of stardust and always has been. No kidding. “You are made of stardust, too,” she will add with a twinkle in her eye.
This is not the wild imagination of a creative writer’s mind. We are all made of stardust. Our little molecules are the leftovers of big stars that exploded eons ago. Mrs. Whatsit may be a fanciful character who gave up her life as a star to fight the darkness, but we are real creatures who really are made of the cosmic dust of supernovas. When giant stars explode, they send their matter out into the universe and enrich all the yet-to-be-born stars and planets with the chemical ingredients that make up life as we know it. Astrophysicist Dr. Neil deGrasse Tyson says, “It’s a profound, underappreciated truth.”
Stardust is just one way that Madeleine L’Engle mixes fact and fantasy to inspire you to want to know more about science. With knowledge come more questions. With imagination comes more curiosity. With searching comes more truth. That blend is a specialty of L’Engle’s.
Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin visit different planets outside our solar system. When A Wrinkle in Time was first printed in 1962, scientists could confirm the existence of only nine planets–all of them orbiting our sun. Since 1995, astronomers have been finding planets at an average rate of one a month–all outside our solar system.
Throughout A Wrinkle in Time, the universe is in a struggle with the Black Thing. L’Engle wrote of the Black Thing before astronomers found black holes, which suck up everything around them, and long before scientists announced that almost all of our universe is composed of invisible “dark matter” and “dark energy,” which science knows almost nothing about.
In the thin atmosphere of Uriel, Meg has to breathe from a flower to stay alive. In reality, we all breathe plants to stay alive. NASA conducts experiments to see how plants could help keep astronauts alive when they travel in space and live on other planets.
In A Wrinkle in Time, we meet thinking aliens in outer space, including Aunt Beast, the Man with Red Eyes, and Mrs. Who. Since 1962, explorers have gone to remote spots on our planet, studying “extremophile” life to learn more about what life out there in space might really be like.
Meg, Charles Wallace, and Calvin travel through multiple dimensions. When A Wrinkle in Time first appeared, science recognized only four dimensions–three of space and one of time. Now mathematicians claim that at least nine spatial dimensions are needed to explain our physical world–maybe ten. Maybe more.
Just looking at how technology and science have changed since Meg’s first adventure was printed is a kind of time travel in your mind that shows how much science and math have grown, and how much they still need to grow. When Meg’s father urges her to name the elements of the periodic table to escape the dark forces of IT, she begins reciting, “Hydrogen, Helium, Lithium, Beryllium, Boron, Carbon, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Fluorine . . .” and continues. Only 103 elements were known in 1962. In 2004, to finish reciting the elements on the periodic table, Meg would need to add more tongue-twisters, such as rutherfordium, meitnerium, darmstadtium, and roentgenium (element number 111). New elements are still being discovered, created, and debated.
Scientists and astronauts are delving further into the tiny world of microorganisms that Meg’s mother studied, and further into the giant realms that Meg’s father traveled in. Since 1962, scientists have discovered quarks and quasars, things smaller and bigger than ever known before–smaller than a proton in an atom and larger than a galaxy. What next?
“Students can get so bombarded in science classes and think that all is known. It’s not. A book like this can help them realize that we know some things, but really very, very little. And maybe a lot of what we know now is not right!” says Shannon Lucid, a science fiction reader and astronaut who has spent more time in space than any other woman. There are still big unanswered questions and great quests yet to begin.
For Madeleine L’Engle, every good story and every good life is a search for answers through fiction, fact, and spirit. The poet, the physicist, and the prophet are all searching to understand the dimensions we can’t see, whether gravity, time, or love. A Wrinkle in Time is a great journey through dimensions–a journey of exploration and discovery, curiosity and awe.
From A Wrinkle In TIme
"Now, don't be frightened, loves," Mrs. Whatsit said. Her plump little body began to shimmer, to quiver, to shift. The wild colors of her clothes became muted, whitened. The pudding-bag shape stretched, lengthened, merged. And suddenly before the children was a creature more beautiful than any Meg had even imagined, and the beauty lay in far more than the outward description. Outwardly Mrs. Whatsit was surely no longer a Mrs. Whatsit. She was a marble-white body with powerful flanks, something like a horse but at the same time completely unlike a horse, for from the magnificently modeled back sprang a nobly formed torso, arms, and a head resembling a man's, but a man with a perfection of dignity and virtue, an exaltation of joy such as Meg had never before seen. No, she thought, it's not like a Greek centaur. Not in the least.
From the shoulders slowly a pair of wings unfolded, wings made of rainbows, of light upon water, of poetry.
Calvin fell to his knees.
"No," Mrs. Whatsit said, though her voice was not Mrs. Whatsit's voice. "Not to me, Calvin. Never to me. Stand up."
"Ccarrry themm," Mrs. Which commanded.
With a gesture both delicate and strong Mrs. Whatsit knelt in front of the children, stretching her wings wide and holding them steady, but quivering. "Onto my back, now," the new voice said.
The children took hesitant steps toward the beautiful creature.
From the Paperback edition.