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“I shall just sit down for a moment and pop on my boots and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, pet, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract,” Mrs. Whatsit. –A Winkle in Time

A Wrinkle in Time

Time Quintet #1

by Madeleine L’Engle
AR Test, Must Read

At A Glance
Interest Level

Reading Level
Number of Pages

Meg’s father is a physicist. Or at least he was, before he disappeared. While her mother insists that he will come back, Meg and the rest of the town doubt he’ll ever return. It doesn’t help that Meg is having trouble at school and thinks that her curls, glasses, and braces make her a “moron.” In fact, Meg is convinced that her life will be terrible forever–until Mrs. Whatsit blows into her kitchen one stormy evening.

Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which definitely aren’t from Earth, and Meg doesn’t trust them. But her little brother Charles says they’re alright, and Charles has always been able to see below the surface of people. When Mrs. Whatsit says they can help the children find their father, Meg doesn’t care what they are, as long as they can help. Suddenly Meg finds herself traveling to other planets with Charles and their friend Calvin. Together will the three of them be able to rescue Meg and Charles’ father? Or will they too become lost?

A Wrinkle in Time has memorable characters that will quickly find their way into readers’ hearts. Meg is very relatable to young readers, as she deals with her fears, her braces, and with not fitting in at school. Watching Meg struggle, grow, and find her inner strength will leave readers cheering for her. The beautiful, imaginative planets that Meg journeys to will awe and delight.

Throughout A Wrinkle in Time, Meg will glimpse a cosmic battle between good and evil, light and darkness, and knowledge and ignorance. While rescuing her father is just a tiny piece of this battle, Meg’s journey is filled with gravitas. Numerous lessons are learned along the way: Meg learns how to be brave, how to take responsibility rather than blaming others, and she discovers the one thing that the Shadow doesn’t have: love.

Sexual Content

  • The rumor is that Meg’s father “left your mother and [went] off with some dame.”
  • When Meg has to go into mortal danger to save her brother, she says goodbye to Calvin. “Calvin came to her and took her hand, then drew her roughly to him and kissed her. He didn’t say anything, and he turned away before he had a chance to see the surprised happiness that brightened Meg’s eyes.”


  • Charles thinks a man is a robot, so he “darted forward and hit the man as hard as he could.” When he realizes the man is not a robot, he says, “I’m sorry if I hurt you.”
  • The mind in charge of a planet that has been lost to the Dark Thing tells Meg, “We let no one suffer. If it is so much kinder simply to annihilate anyone who is ill . . . Rather than endure such discomfort they are simply put to sleep.”
  • When Charles is hypnotized, Meg tries to knock him back to his senses. “She hurled herself at him. But before she could reach him his fist shot out and punched her hard in the stomach. She gasped for breath.”

Drugs and Alcohol

  • None


  • Charles says, “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”
  • Moron is used often. The town thinks Charles is a moron because he never talks, and Meg calls herself a moron several times. When Charles speaks to Calvin, Calvin is surprised. “Aren’t you the one who’s supposed to be the moron?”
  • Calvin calls Charles and Meg “dope” several times as an affectionate nickname. “Look, dope. I just want to get things straight.”
  • Ass is used once. Mrs. Who says, “And old ass knows more than a young colt.”


  • Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who, and Mrs. Which are not from earth, though they can appear in human form. It’s never directly stated what they are, but it’s mentioned that Mrs. Who is a “paltry few billion years” older than Mrs. Whatsit, and that Mrs. Which is even older.
  • At one point, Mrs. Whatsit morphs into a new form. “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 the magnificently modeled back sprang a nobly formed torso, arms, and a heard resembling a man’s but a man with a perfection of dignity and virtue.”
  • The children tesser across space (a form of faster than light travel) several times with Mrs. Which. “All light was gone. Darkness was complete . . . Just as light and sound had vanished, she was gone, too. The corporeal Meg simply was not . . . She was lost in a horrifying void.” They visit several different planets and meet the occupants of those planets.
  • The children visit the “Happy Medium,” a very happy woman who can see the entire universe through a crystal ball.
  • The children visit a planet that has been lost to the Shadow. There, they find a man who is possessed by IT, the mind in charge. “His eyes were bright and had a reddish glow. Above his head was a light, and it glowed in the same manner as the eyes, pulsing, throbbing, in steady rhythm. Charles Wallace shut his eyes tightly. ‘Close your eyes . . . He’ll hypnotize you.’ ”
  • The children finally meet IT and realize, “It was a brain. A disembodied brain. An oversized brain, just enough larger than normal to be completely revolting and terrifying. A living brain. A brain that pulsed and quivered, that seized and commanded.”

Spiritual Content

  • On one of the planets they visit, centaur-esque creatures are singing a song of pure joy. Mrs. Whatsit tries to translate the song into words: “Sing unto the Lord a new song, and his praise from the end of the earth, ye that go down to the sea, and all that is therein; the isles; and the inhabitants thereof. Let the wilderness and the cities thereof lift their voice; let the inhabitants of the rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains. Let them give glory onto the Lord!” When Meg hears the song, she “felt a pulse of joy such as she had never known before.”
  • The children learn their father was taken prisoner while fighting the Dark Thing. Meg sees the Dark Thing, a huge shadow stretched across space. “What could there be about a shadow that was so terrible that she knew that there had never been before or ever would be again, anything that would chill her with a fear that was beyond shuddering, beyond crying or screaming, beyond the possibility of comfort?” When they ask what it is, Mrs. Which says, “Itt iss Eevill. Itt iss thee Ppowers of Ddarrkknesss!”
  • The children realize that many people have fought the darkness on Earth for years. Mrs. Whatsit says, “They’ve been lights for us to see by.” They include Jesus, Gandhi, Buddha, Leonardo da Vinci, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Bach, Pasteur, Madame Curie, Einstein and more.
  • Meg’s father said, “We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
  • When struggling to describe Mrs. Whatsit to aliens, Calvin says they are “Angels! Guardian angels! Messengers! Messengers of God!”
  • Before Meg goes to confront It, Mrs. Who tells her, “The foolishness of God is wiser than men; and the weakness of God is stronger than men. For ye see your calling, brethren, how that not many wise men after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble men are called, but God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty. And base things of the world, and things which are despised, hath God chosen, yea, and things which are not, to bring to naught things that are.”

by Morgan Lynn



Other books by Madeleine L’Engle
Other books you may enjoy

“I shall just sit down for a moment and pop on my boots and then I’ll be on my way. Speaking of ways, pet, by the way, there is such a thing as a tesseract,” Mrs. Whatsit. –A Winkle in Time

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