Our children’s book of the month for August was A Wrinkle In Time, a sci-fi adventure written in 1960. It would be our first dabble into science fiction, so what exactly would the children make of a book older than their parents?
A Wrinkle – The Blurb
“When Charles Wallace Murry goes searching through a ‘wrinkle in time’ for his lost father, he finds himself on an evil planet where all life is enslaved by a huge pulsating brain known as ‘It’. How Charles, his sister Meg and friend Calvin find and free his father makes this a very special and exciting mixture of fantasy and science fiction, which all the way through is dominated by the funny and mysterious trio of guardian angels known as Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which.“
What makes a science fiction book?
As it was our first sci-fi book we spent a bit of time discussing the conventions of sci-fi – aliens, time travel, outer space! We also discussed what life was like in 1960 and tried to spot whether the book had dated. Did it suffer in today’s world from having being written so long ago? Personally I didn’t think so as the setting on another planet allowed for a lack of phones and internet. We also discussed the moon landing, which occurred in 1969, and how the book was written at a time where anything in relation to space seemed possible.
It’s on TV!
This was also our first book that also had a movie, much to the children’s delight. A copy of A Wrinkle was found and passed about between the group. Cue much discussion as to whether you should read the book first and was the film better? I am yet to receive the DVD and so can’t pass comment! The duo genuinely seemed to make a good combination with the children liking both.
“We are such stuff as dreams are made on”
Do you ever have a book that suddenly, out of nowhere, starts appearing everywhere? I have with the The Tempest so wasn’t surprised to see it popping up in A Wrinkle. Shakespeare is something that the Year 5 children in the group had recently touched upon and so we had a discussion about The Tempest. As out of my depth as I was, with mysterious islands, powerful sorcerers, magic and a man stuck on island – the children (and myself) could easily see many parallels between the two books.
Pencils at the ready
The section at the back of the book (again very good) suggested we draw ‘Aunt Beast’ which produced some fabulous results. The definition section was useful as I did at times think the dialogue was a tad tricky for 9-11 year olds – definition of ‘propitious’ anyone?
It was a relatively short book (256 pages) and given the summer holidays or lack of other school work most of the group got it read. This allowed us to really talk about the ending (something I try to avoid if some of the group haven’t managed to get to the end yet.) We talked about IT and the Black Thing and how the end was left very much open. (A Wrinkle is actually the first in L’Engle’s Time Quintet series).
I found the book difficult to follow sometimes. I didn’t always understanding Meg’s train of thought or L’Engle’s choice of dialogue making it my least favourite book club book so far. The children enjoyed the film link and the chance to talk/draw their own planets/aliens/super powers etc. It offered more than just the book and the children got a lot out of it, which is always a winner.
If you would like your child/pupils to be a part of our book club why not join in with our book club questions new this month. Answer in the comments section below or post replies to our social media (@BookSocialUK). Alternatively if you’re needing summer reading suggestions to get the kids through the summer holidays then see our guide here
- Using the description in the back of the book can you draw Aunt Beast? Post your results on social media tagging @BookSocialUK
- If you could tesseract what would the planet you arrived at look like? Would it be dangerous? Would it contain aliens?
- Madeleine L’Engle in an interview once said “Of course I’m Meg”. Which character would you be in the book and why?
- What do you think the Dark Thing is and how do you think it can be defeated?
- Meg was given certain gifts to help in her quest to save her father and her brother (for example Mrs Who’s spectacles). What special gift would you have given her and why?