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Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Wondermous Graphic Novel Version of L'Engles's Wrinkle in Time!

Larson, Hope (ill.)  (2012) Madeleine L'Engle's A Wrinkle in Time: The Graphic Novel.  New York:  Farrar, Straus, and Giroux. 

When I heard that there was going to be a graphic novel version of A Wrinkle in Time, I was scared.  That book, like the Narnia series, Lord of the Rings, Xanth, and the Ender series are all books that are very important to me and I don't want to see them hurt.

When I heard the adaptation would be done by Hope Larson I calmed down a little bit, but I was still afraid.  I like Larson's work, but her style is a little bit too cartoony for my liking.  And then, about a month ago (I am not quite sure exactly -- this has been a busy summer) a copy arrived.  I was still scared when I opened the first page, but then I fell in, and I absolutely loved it. 

Here is why:  Hope Larson totally gets this book.  The adaptation is true to the spirit of the original story.  All the stuff that matters so deeply to me is here:  Charles Wallace's wonderful oddness; the mystery of the old ladies; the delightfully automatic growth of Meg and Calvin's relationship; the movement of the story and the argument against sameness and conformity that was so important to me as a child; and finally, the importance of faith and the distinctions between working for light and working for darkness with the listing of religious figures lining up behind the light.   

And the truth is that I got a little choked up (in a profoundly manly way) around pages 350 to 360 when Meg's father says goodbye to her, before she faces It.

Oh, that's right.  Some of you don't know what the story is about.  Okay, brief synopsis: Meg's father was working on a top secret government project when he disappeared.  Meg and her brother Charles Wallace and their new friend Calvin are recruited by some rather odd old ladies to travel across the dimensions to rescue their father from a horrendous evil that enslaves entire societies.  Along the way they meet people who help them, but in the end it is the tree of them that must challenge the mind that is behind it all.

The graphic novel retains every element of the plot, but does more than that too.  When I recently reread Wrinkle in Time in the original text-only version, I was struck by how sparse the description was.  It is hard for even a highly imaginative young reader to picture the characters, the settings, and especially the other worlds in this novel.  Hope Larson helps me to see it -- and though her picture don't always match up with mine -- they don't jar with mine either.  Like I said, Larsen gets this book.

So if you loved Wrinkle in Time as a child, and are trying to figure out how to get a  fourth grader or older kid hooked on L'Engle's work, check out this adaptation.  It is a thick one at 392 pages -- but it reads fast.  Good stuff!  

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