Meg is hot-tempered and awkward at school. The only person who seems to really understand her is her odd youngest brother, Charles Wallace. He is exceptionally intelligent and eloquent for his age, but then, both of their parents are brilliant physicists. His father, however, Charles Wallace has never met. Sent away on a government program doing no one knows exactly what, Dr. Murry has been gone for many years, and most people whisper that he abandoned their family. But one dark and stormy night, a visitor appears at the family’s door, a haggard woman named Mrs Whatsit, dressed in very eccentric clothing, who has already befriended Charles Wallace. She seems to be somewhat telepathic, and cryptically tells Mrs. Murry just before leaving that there is indeed such a thing as a tesseract.
Charles Wallace decides he and Meg must pay a visit to the haunted house a few miles down the road, where Mrs Whatsit has been hiding, along with her friends Mrs Who and Mrs Which. On the way there, they meet a boy named Calvin from Meg’s school who has the opposite problem as Meg, of forcing himself to fit in, and no one really understanding him. The three strange women inform the children that they are not from our world, that they know the Murry’s father, and that he is in desperate need of their help. They will take the trio and help them “wrinkle” across time and space onto a new planet where dark forces are in power, ones that have been trying to destroy their father. Armed with cryptic advice and their minds, the group stop at the home planet of the three women for some nourishment of their bodies and souls, before they face the most alluring terrors, and seek out Mr. Murry and how to save him and the entire planet from the shadow.
Filled with humor, wisdom, and creativity, A Wrinkle in Time is for anyone who ever wondered about other planets or time travel, or any person, even adults, who was ever an awkward child, wishing their life was made for more than just “fitting in.” This book is the satisfaction of childhood dreams and curiosities, and teaches how we can all still fight the shadow, no matter our age.
On the night Mrs Whatsit appeared, Charles Wallace was at the kitchen table warming milk for cocoa, and enjoying bread and jam. The morning after meeting Mrs Whatsit, and the day they would meet Mrs Who, Mother made French toast for breakfast for her children, and they discussed a little of the previous night’s events. To combine the french toast with strawberry jam, I created a recipe for:
French Toast Cupcakes with Strawberry Jam Whipped Frosting
- salted butter, at room temperature
- granulated sugar
- light brown sugar
- all purpose flour
- baking powder
- baking soda
- large eggs, at room temperature
- whole milk
- strawberry Greek yogurt
- vanilla extract
- real maple syrup
- strawberry jam
- powdered sugar
- heavy whipping cream
- powdered milk or meringue powder
- fresh strawberries, for garnish, if desired
- For the full recipe and instructions, visit owlcation.com/humanities/A-Wrinkle-in-Time-Discussion-and-Recipe.
1.1 How was Charles Wallace able to understand his sister’s and his mother’s minds with such accuracy, even predicting that Meg would join him downstairs during the storm and want cocoa?
1.2 Why did Meg hate being an oddball, and why was it so difficult for her to pretend to be like other people, or even to do well in school? Was she smart?
1.3 Did anyone in his family completely understand Charles Wallace? Why was it good that his mother at the least didn’t try “to squash him down. You’re letting him be himself.” What did that mean, exactly?
For chapter-by-chapter discussion questions, visit owlcation.com/humanities/A-Wrinkle-in-Time-Discussion-and-Recipe.
The next books in this series, in order, are A Wind in the Door, A Swiftly Tilting Planet, Many Waters, and An Acceptable Time. Another series by Madeleine L’Engle is Meet the Austins, and its sequels, which follow another family’s adventures.
Similar fantasy/time and planet travel series books for children is The Chronicles of Narnia Series by C. S. Lewis, which can be begun with either The Magician’s Nephew or The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.
The “horrifying void” of tessering or wrinkling is very similar to how dragons and fire lizards allow their people to travel between in Dragonsong by Anne McCaffey.
Stardust by Neil Gaiman is another adventure story about space travel, other worlds and creatures, and the battle of good and evil.
Another book that has a different perspective on daily life within a controlled system, much like on a certain planet in this book, is The Giver by Lois Lowry.
“Isn’t it wonderful? I feel as though I were just being born! I’m not alone anymore! Do you know what that means to me?”
…”I think that with our human limitations we’re not always able to understand the explanations. But you see, Meg, just because we don’t understand doesn’t mean that the explanation doesn’t exist.”
“Oh, we don’t travel at the speed of anything. We tesser. Or you might say, we wrinkle.”
“My child, do not despair. Do you think we would have brought you here if there were no hope? We are asking you to do a difficult thing, but we are confident that you can do it.”
“A straight line is not the shortest distance between two points.”
“And we’re not alone, you know… all through the universe it’s being fought, all through the cosmos, and my, but it’s a grand and exciting battle…some of our very best fighters have come right from your own planet… you can be proud that it’s done so well… All your great artists. They’ve been lights for us to see by.”
“Beware of pride and arrogance, for they may betray you.”
“Didn’t you ever have a father yourself? You don’t want him for a reason. You want him because he’s your father.”
“Maybe if you aren’t unhappy sometimes you don’t know how to be happy.”
“Good helps us, the stars help us, perhaps what you would call light helps us, love helps us.”
“Think about what they are. This look doesn’t help us at all.”
“You’re given the form, but you have to write the sonnet yourself. What you say is completely up to you.”