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Book Review

This book has been reviewed by Focus on the Family’s marriage and parenting magazine. It is the first book in the "Time Quartet" series.

Positive Elements

Spiritual Content

Sexual Content

Violent Content

Crude or Profane Language

Drug and Alcohol Content

Other Negative Elements

Conclusion

Pro-social Content

Objectionable Content

Summary Advisory

Plot Summary

No one has heard from Meg Murray's physicist father in more than a year — then Meg and her precocious brother, Charles Wallace, meet Mrs. Who, Mrs. Whatsit and Mrs. Which (the Mrs. Ws). The strange women tell the children that their father is in danger, and it's up to them (the kids) to travel through space and time to find him. Along with their new friend, Calvin, Meg and Charles Wallace learn about tessering or traveling into a fifth dimension through a "wrinkle" in time. Their father discovered how to tesser, which led to his imprisonment on the planet Camazotz by an evil disembodied brain known as IT. As they attempt to rescue Mr. Murray, Charles Wallace falls prey to IT's mind control. Meg, Calvin and Mr. Murray escape to the planet Ixchel where the Mrs. Ws and helpful, blind creatures (including Meg's caregiver, Aunt Beast) teach Meg what she must do to rescue her brother and return home.

Christian Beliefs

Charles Wallace, the Mrs. Ws and Aunt Beast all acknowledge God and Christ, though they don't all know Him by the same name because of language differences on their various planets. On one planet, creatures sing verses from Isaiah 42. Aunt Beast, after saying that good and light guide her people, quotes from 2 Corinthians 4. Mrs. Who quotes 1 Corinthians 1, and Mr. Murray notes that all things work together for good for those who love God. Mrs. Who speaks about the light shining in the darkness but the darkness not understanding it. Christ is mentioned in this discussion as One who brought light, but so are well-known authors, scientists and religious leaders (including Ghandi and Buddha). Charles Wallace has Calvin read him the book of Genesis as a bedtime story. The Dark Thing and IT both exemplify evil. The Dark Thing hangs over the earth and other planets like a smoky haze, and IT manipulates and controls everyone it can inhabit.

Other Belief Systems

The Mrs. Ws use magic to travel through space and change themselves into other forms. These ladies take the children to visit the Happy Medium, a turban-wearing woman who can look at other worlds through her crystal ball. The Happy Medium tells Calvin that kissing her will bring him good luck. Mrs. Whatsit tells Meg if she stays angry, she won't have room for fear.

Authority Roles

Mrs. Murray is a scientist who writes faithfully to her husband and tries to find him, despite not hearing from him in more than a year. Meanwhile, she maintains a brave face in front of her four children. Mr. Murray, also a scientist working for the government, has been trapped by IT on Camazotz. He longs to protect his family but has been unable to get back to them and, ultimately, can't be the one to save his young son from IT. Calvin's mother beats her children and screams at them. The Mrs. Ws, Aunt Beast and others on the planet Ixchel care for Meg, Calvin and Mr. Murray. They are loving but firm, refusing to allow Meg in particular to behave in a hateful manner to others. IT cruelly manipulates everyone he can, attempting to convince them that life will be much easier if they leave the thinking to him.

Profanity/Violence

None

Kissing/Sex/Homosexuality

Kisses are innocent. Each of the children gives the Happy Medium a goodbye kiss. Calvin kisses Meg before she tessers back to Camazotz to get her brother. Charles Wallace gives Mrs. Whatsit a kiss of appreciation when he learns she was once a star who gave her life to fight the darkness.

Discussion Topics

Get free discussion questions for this book and others, at FocusOnTheFamily.com/discuss-books.

Additional Comments/Notes

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*Book reviews cover the content, themes and worldviews of fiction books, not their literary merit, and equip parents to decide whether a book is appropriate for their children. The inclusion of a book's review does not constitute an endorsement by Focus on the Family

Episode Reviews

Credits

Rating

Readability Age Range

9 to 12

Author

Madeleine L'Engle

Cast

Director

Distributor

Network

Performance

Record Label

Platform

Publisher

Originally published by Farrar, Straus & Giroux; since then, it has been published elsewhere, such as at Square Fish, an imprint of Roaring Brook Press.

Released

On Video

Year Published

1963

Awards

Newbery Medal, 1963

Reviewer

We hope this review was both interesting and useful. Please share it with family and friends who would benefit from it as well.

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