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A Wrinkle in Time

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A Wrinkle in Time  Cover

 

 

Excerpt

From the Introduction to A Wrinkle in Time

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 LEngles 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 writers 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, “Its a profound, underappreciated truth.”

Stardust is just one way that Madeleine LEngle 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 LEngles.

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. LEngle 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 Megs 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 Megs 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 Megs mother studied, and further into the giant realms that Megs 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. Its 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 LEngle, 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 cant 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.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 6 comments:

eq_colorado2, October 1, 2008 (view all comments by eq_colorado2)
this book is mainly banned or challenged because it refers to withcraft and uses Jesus's name
No that it really matters...
I am reading it right now and I thinks its amazing
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(17 of 26 readers found this comment helpful)
great flood, September 8, 2007 (view all comments by great flood)
The book a wrinkle in time is quite the book to read. i myself write stories and i once in a while remember parts from the book a wrinkle in time when i read it. i don't remember so much about the book because i am old of age and this is what happens to my memory, but i do remember that it was a creative book. (i need to re-read that book sometime soon.) after reading that this book is on the banned book list, i was fascinated in how some can be so blind about things. i am pretty sure that not all authors want to add religous subjects to their books! books are not all about that. when people began speaking of C.S. Lewis's chronicles of Narnia books, and how they were religion related, i got very angry. this is not the point of all books. if an author meant to speak of this subject in their books, they would speak of it. a book can't be simply enjoyed without thinking of religion of political matters? this is what novels are for. these are simple ficton stories that are about unknown worlds and learning to face fears! not about those matters! i believe that these books are written to take one to another world and a new time, not concentrate on one that already exists!
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(17 of 33 readers found this comment helpful)
Mary J., December 12, 2006 (view all comments by Mary J.)
I am 49 years old. I read "A Wrinkle in Time" when I was eleven, and it was a life-changing experience. In 1968 a little girl with strength, courage and brains was still a rather new idea, even "inside the Beltway," which is where I grew up. This book helped me find my way at a time when I really had no idea where I was going. It helped me to understand that intelligence, success, and the love of humanity were not just within my grasp, but absolutely vital. It also fueled in me the breathtaking notion that reality itself holds limitless surprises and possibilities just waiting for us to discover.
As an adult, I began to realize that most of my favorite friends had also read this book as children. I find myself drawn to people of all ages who are bright, idealistic, creative, loving, and have a strong sense of justice--much like Meg, the heroine of "A Wrinkle in Time." Did we read the book because it suited our personalilities, or did the book help us to crystallize those traits in ourselves? Probably a bit of both.
Several years ago, I re-read this book and some of the others in the series, and I was still enthralled. Madeleine L'engle has written some wonderful books that have withstood the test of time. I can't wait until my five-year-old son is old enough to read "A Wrinkle in Time." I think he will love it.
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(29 of 51 readers found this comment helpful)
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780440498056
Author:
L'Engle, Madeleine
Publisher:
Yearling
Author:
L'Engle, Madeleine
Location:
New York
Subject:
Fiction
Subject:
Classics
Subject:
Family
Subject:
Science Fiction, Fantasy, & Magic
Subject:
Family life
Subject:
Children's 9-12 - Fiction - Fantasy
Subject:
Fantastic fiction
Subject:
Science fiction
Subject:
Children's 9-12 - Literature - Classics / Contemporary
Subject:
Reading
Subject:
Language arts
Subject:
Juveniles
Subject:
Space and time
Subject:
Newbery medal books
Subject:
Newbery Medal.
Subject:
Newbery medal books -- Juvenile software.
Subject:
Chiildren s literature
Copyright:
Edition Description:
Copy protected. Includes back-up disk.
Series:
The Time Quartet
Series Volume:
71 (02)
Publication Date:
19730315
Binding:
Paperback
Grade Level:
RL:5.8.
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Y
Pages:
256
Dimensions:
7.64x5.20x.68 in. .38 lbs.
Age Level:
09-12

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Related Subjects

Children's » Awards » Newbery Award Winners
Children's » Middle Readers » General
Children's » Science Fiction and Fantasy » General
Featured Titles » Banned Books » Children's
Young Adult » Fiction » Newbery Award Winners

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Product details 256 pages Yearling Books - English 9780440498056 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Fascinating....It makes unusual demands on the imagination and consequently gives great rewards."
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