L’Engle, Madeleine (2005). A wrinkle in time. New York: Laurel-Leaf.
Plot Description: Meg is a Teen girl who doesn’t feel she fits in, the only one who understands her is her young brother Charles Wallace. These two must go on a fantastical journey through time to find their missing father, who may be in danger. They are accompanied on their quest through time and space by Calvin, an older boy from Meg’s school and aided by three strange ‘unearthly’ old women: Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit, and Mrs. Which, all of whom are certainly much more than meets the eye. Their journey takes them to several planets, one of which is ruled by ‘IT’ an evil disembodied brain that bends the population to its will and forces everyone into conformity. The children try to resist being hypnotized and taken over by ‘IT’. In order to save them from evil Meg must discover on her own, the one thing she has that ‘IT’ does not.
Quantitative Reading Level: Lexile Measure: 740L Interest Level: Middle Grades ATOS Book Level: 4.7 Common Core State Standards Appendix B Titles-CCSS Grade Band 6-8
Qualitative Reading Analysis: The book contains figurative language such as symbolism, metaphors, allusions and imagery. There is also some science vocabulary relating to physics concepts and time travel. Multiple themes such as struggle to fit in, conformity, good vs. evil, fate and free will are familiar to many readers, however the experiences in the book are not. First person narration provides accurate but limited perspectives or viewpoints. The text structure includes shifts in time and more complex characters, such as a 5 year old with special gifts that make him wise far beyond his years with an ability to read people, in addition to other worldly creatures that can change their appearance. The book contains elements of both moderately and very complex texts according to the SCASS Rubric, thus I would simply call it complex. However, the CCSS call it somewhat complex.
Content Area: Reading, Literature, Science (Physics & Astronomy)
Content Area Standard: English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Literature
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.2 Determine a theme or central idea of a text and analyze its development over the course of the text, including its relationship to the characters, setting, and plot; provide an objective summary of the text
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.8.3 Analyze how particular lines of dialogue or incidents in a story or drama propel the action, reveal aspects of a character, or provoke a decision.
English Language Arts Standards for Reading: Writing
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.8.3 Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, relevant descriptive details, and well-structured event sequences.
Curriculum Suggestions: Examine literary devices, plot, theme, figurative language, character development, etc used in the novel. Discuss themes of self-perception, courage and place in family & school. Write a continuation to a chapter or end of novel. Create your own fictional planet and its inhabitants. Use the special edition of the book and read the essay on science in the novel as an opener for further learning and discussion of scientific theories related to the story.
Supporting Digital Content: http://www.scholastic.com/teachers/sites/default/files/asset/file/a-wrinkle-in-time-bookfile.pdf
Awards: Newberry Medal, NCTE Notable Children’s Books in the Language Arts, School Library Journal Best Book, Lewis Carroll Shelf Award
Series information: Time Quartet
Character names/descriptions: Meg an awkward high school girl who travels through time to rescue her father , Charles Wallace Meg’s highly intelligent 5 year old brother who has a gift for reading people, Calvin a popular neighbor boy who accompanies Meg and Charles Wallace on their journey.
Additional Information: This Special Edition includes an essay about the real-life science that inspired the book.
Personal Thoughts: I enjoyed reading this book and would recommend it to middle and high school students, especially those who enjoy fantasy or adventure.
High interest annotation: Three young people travel through space and time to fight evil.