Whoever did the cover art for Madeleine L’Engle books must have had an awesome (terrifying) time of it, this book included. How best to capture a children’s novel about the fifth dimension, ultimate evil, and an alien planet called Camazotz? Oh, of course: three faceless children riding a floating bald marble centaur with a rainbow emanating from his shoulderblades. Wait, too weird? Best balance it out by adding a nice big flower at the bottom of the illustration.
But what would you have done? This book, revolving around travel both in time and outer space, kind of defies any sort of literal visualization. A lot of teachers at my school were incredibly skeptical of Madeleine L’Engle–displaying the unfortunately common Christian aversion to science, or at the very least, refusing to believe that a book that asks this many questions could have any root in faith–and it’s upsetting to me that anyone would ever be discouraged from reading this book. It’s so good. Twelve years after first reading A Wrinkle in Time, I am still scared by the thunderstorm that begins the book, still freaked out by the bodiless brain called IT which controls all the Stepfordy people on Camazotz, still chilled by the scene where Meg saves her brother. And I still have a big crush on Calvin O’Keefe.