This week’s Newbery winner is A Wrinkle in Time. We’ll start things off with Sara’s review.
Sara: I brought home The Wrinkle in Time graphic novel adapted and illustrated by Hope Larson from the public library. As I was busy doing other things, I soon heard from my 4th grader, “What is a tesseract?” I did not use this as a bonding moment or as a time to nurture my child’s reading interest. I was annoyed she took MY book. I took it back and told her I would let her read it after I had finished. Of course, she is MY child and would not be deterred and I had to wait.
When sharing with colleagues that I was reading it, our art teacher was mad. She said, “I read that in 4th or 5th grade when I was required to and I never understood it.” This was my 3rd favorite novel when I was growing up, right after Charlotte’s Web and Anne of Green Gables. It was also the first sci-fi novel I ever read. I pretty much read these three books on a constant loop from grades 3-6. Why was my experience withWrinkle in Time different than my colleague’s? I wasn’t required to read it. I chose it. I didn’t understand it the first time or the second, but I kept reading it because I enjoyed the characters. When reading these novels, a question that obviously comes to mind was, why was this the most distinguished book of 1962? I think it was the strength of the relationship among the characters. I’m not a betting woman, but I could put some money down that Benji is going to make some connections between this book, Bronze Bow and the 1960s, because Jesus is mentioned, and despite two completely opposite settings, there are parallel themes.
With Benji’s permission, I read the graphic novel instead of reading the text version again. I’m glad I did. Larson did a wonderful job of adapting the text and I felt like she didn’t leave anything vitally important out. I have 10 copies of text version of The Wrinkle of Time in my library and all of them are sitting on the shelf and haven’t been checked out in ages. I have no doubt that if I had the graphic novel in my collection that my students would have the same reaction my daughter did. I plan to order it immediately! I appreciate Ms. Larson making a book I loved as a child appealing to a new generation of readers. Hooray for graphic novels!
I give it five out of five Newbery Pies.
Benji: I read A Wrinkle in Time for the first time four years ago. I wasn’t that impressed. I kind of felt like people read Wrinkle in Time for the same reason they play Super Mario Bros today. Not because they think it’s a great game by today’s standards, but because they loved it as a child and have fond memories of it. The things that bugged me about Wrinkle in Time back in 2011 were Meg’s terrible attitude, the dated language, Calvin’s sudden infatuation with Meg like two minutes after he meets her, (there’s almost immediate hand-holding and remarking about “dreamboat eyes” My preteen self only wished it were that easy.) and the abrupt ending of the book.
I read it with a fresh mind this time, I still saw the little flaws in the book, but since I already knew what was coming, I could focus on the overall arc of the story, and I could watch Meg’s subtle transformation closely. What I didn’t catch last time, is that J.K. Rowling definitely borrowed from Winkle in Time. Meg and Harry could both be annoying, rage filled adolescents at times, but they both conquered their enemy because of what they possessed that their enemy didn’t have. Love. (duh) This time around I loved that Meg the underdog, the plain one, the dull one in a family of geniuses, the weak one who is aways having to be protected by Calvin, the girl whose only real strengths are her weaknesses is in the end, the only one who can save Charles Wallace from IT.
I had such a change of opinion about this book, that I even have it on display now in “Mr. Martin’s favorite books” bay. I can see why people love it now and I even love it a little myself.
I didn’t make many connections between this one and Bronze Bow like Sara predicted. I did notice that they were both religious in theme, but that’s about it, really.
Today, as I was thinking about the book and digesting it, coincidently, a student actually came and returned Wrinkle of Time to me. I had checked it out to him before the summer. I had told him, he might like it, he might not, not a whole lot of kids do these days. (I think I was trying to save my reputation just in case he hated it) Well, he brought it back, and told me that he loved it, and he didn’t see what I was talking about. Kids should all love it. He also told me that he thought he was like Charles Wallace, the child genius 🙂
I’m going to start recommending it to kids more often. Next week, I’m going to show my students this book trailer.
I give Wrinkle in Time four out of five Newbery Pies.
Next up: Sara and I will be giving our kinda-too-early-Newbery 2016 Predictions