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A Wrinkle in Time: 50th Anniversary Commemorative Edition

What's so special about this edition?

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The 50th Anniversary Commemorative Edition of A Wrinkle in Time will be irresistible to dedicated fans of the classic children's book for which author Madeleine L'Engle won the John Newbery Medal in 1963. Why? The book is packed with extras, some of which can be found in other editions, but many of which are new to this edition of the groundbreaking fantasy and science fiction book for kids 10 to 15. For more about the story, read the book review of A Wrinkle in Time. For more about the bonus materials in the commemorative edition, see the list below. Be sure to keep scrolling down until you see all seven sections of my report.

1. The Cover of the Hardbound Book

Cover art for 50th Anniversary Edition of Classic Children's Book
Macmillan
The cover of the hardbound edition of A Wrinkle in Time 50th Anniversary Commemorative Edition features the original artwork done by Ellen Raskin. It has a dark blue-green background with three sets of wide green and narrow black concentric circles, each surrounding a silhouette of one of the three main characters. Like the silhouettes, the title of book is in white. The author's name is in the same light green as the wide circles. Scroll down to see the book jacket of the anniversary edition.

2. The Book Jacket

Book jacket art for A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle
Macmillan
The bronze book jacket features an updated version of the original cover, with new colors, the addition of an embossed gold John Newbery Medal seal at the top, the title in very large white embossed letters and, along the bottom, in gold, the words "50th Anniversary Commemorative Edition." The five sections below provide information on all the bonus materials in this edition of A Wrinkle in Time.

3. The Introduction

In her introduction, author Katherine Patterson, like Madeleine L'Engle a Newbery Medal winner, discusses the impact of A Wrinkle in Time on editors (the manuscript was rejected more than two dozen times), other adults and children, including her own. Patterson says, "In one book we confront quantum physics, Christian theology, and a cosmic struggle between good and evil. It is not difficult to understand why so many publishers were afraid to touch it....But the book that was too hard and strange for adult editors has been, for the last fifty years, joyfully claimed by young readers - millions of them from all over the world."

4. The Afterword

At the end of the book, there is a fascinating afterword by Charlotte Jones Voiklis, Madeleine L'Engle's granddaughter. It is 16-pages long and includes 7 family photos and a copy of a letter from the book's editor. This section includes a brief biography of L'Engle, her granddaughter's memories of life with her grandmother, and a good deal about the writing of A Wrinkle in Time, the difficulty in finding a publisher and the public's reaction to the book. In terms of the controversy about the book, Voiklis says, "Gran was baffled by the charges of some Christian groups that it glorified witchcraft and new age spirituality. On the other hand, she was equally flummoxed by criticism that it was too overtly Christian."

For more about L'Engle, watch the About.com video profile of Madeleine L'Engle. For more about censorship, see All About Book Banning of Books for Kids and Teens.

5. A Chapter from the Original Manuscript

It is always fascinating to see a work in the process of final editing, and this chapter is no exception. First, there is a typed list of chapter titles, with several titles crossed off and new handwritten titles substituted. This revised list was the list of chapters actually used in the final book. The typed chapter begins as does the first chapter of the published book, "It was a dark and stormy night." However, beginning with the next sentence and on almost every page that follows, there are minor edits, with considerable changes on several pages.

6. Memorabilia

The six-page Memorabilia section is a great addition to the story of Madeleine L'Engle and A Wrinkle in Time. It includes photos of L'Engle as a college student, at the Newbery Award ceremony, with her husband, Hugh Franklin, and in her office. It also includes a photograph of L'Engle's grade card (she received an "A") from Columbia University for a novel writing workshop.

My favorite piece of memorabilia is the letter from Ezra Jack Keats, who won the Randolph Caldecott Medal for A Snowy Day in 1963, the same year L'Engle won the John Newbery Medal. In the letter, Keats tells L'Engle how much he enjoyed her book and says that he hopes that some day she'll write a children's picture book and let him do the illustrations.

7. Additional Bonus Materials

There are several items that have also appeared in earlier editions of A Wrinkle in Time. They include the transcript of Madeleine L'Engle's August 1963 John Newbery Medal acceptance speech, which she titled The Expanding Universe. For readers who want to know more about some of the characters, there are two charts termed The L'Engle Cast of Characters. The first focuses on the books featuring the Murry-O'Keefes and their family tree while the second focuses on books featuring the Austins and their family tree. There is also a list of characters who appear in both sets of books.

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