In honor of the 50th anniversary of A Wrinkle in Time, there is a special edition that was released this month, with the same artwork as the original hardcover release. The new covers have some metallic foil stamping, a Newbery Medal seal, and “50th Anniversary Edition” printed across the top. The new edition was actually released in both hardcover and paperback simultaneously; the hardcover has a red version of the artwork, with Charles Wallace, Meg, and Calvin in slightly different poses. The paperback, in blue, looks more closely like the original.
The story, of course, is still the same phenomenal story, down to L’Engle’s insistence that the period is included in “Mrs. Murry” but not in “Mrs Whatsit,” “Mrs Who,” and “Mrs Which.” A couple of things were added for this edition. First is an introduction by Katherine Paterson, author of Newbery-winning Bridge to Terabithia (among many other books), talking about her own first experience reading A Wrinkle in Time — as an adult, wanting to write children’s books. The introduction is brief but includes a tidbit about a documentary, Chekhov for Children, in which a sixth-grade Rebecca Stead appears. And although it’s not the subject of the documentary, that was about the same time that L’Engle visited young Rebecca’s school. This led to a love for A Wrinkle in Time that birthed Stead’s own Newbery-winning novel When You Reach Me, a story which prominently features L’Engle’s classic in its plot.
The book also includes an afterword by L’Engle’s granddaughter Charlot Jones Voiklis. This is the most substantial “extra” in this edition. It includes some photographs of L’Engle and a letter from her editor Hal Vursell soliciting quotes for the book. Voiklis writes about L’Engle’s childhood and early writing career, largely focusing on how A Wrinkle in Time nearly didn’t get published. This is, of course, not an entirely new story — the manuscript was rejected by publisher after publisher for two years before Farrar, Straus and Cuhady finally took a chance on it. But Voiklis is able to talk about L’Engle from a much more intimate perspective, and her insight into her grandmother’s mind is much appreciated.
In 2007, shortly before L’Engle’s death, Square Fish (an imprint of Macmillan) spoke with L’Engle in what became her last interview. The Q&A is printed in this edition, though I found it a little disappointing. Some of questions just get short, single-phrase answers, and the interviewer didn’t ask follow-up questions based on her answers. It’s very brief, and I feel like L’Engle deserves more.
The last bit in the book is L’Engle’s Newbery Award acceptance speech. Of course, this isn’t new material either, but it’s definitely worth reading, to hear L’Engle talking about her book in her own words, well before the Murrys embark on another adventure in A Wind in the Door, while everyone was still discovering this curious, impossible-to-categorize book.
If you’re a big fan of the book, it might be worth picking up a copy for the supplemental material (since I’m sure you already own at least one copy of the book, right?) but I was really hoping for more, something along the lines of the 50th anniversary edition of The Phantom Tollbooth which came out last year. That one felt like an essential for its fans, with essays from quite a lot of famous and not-so-famous writers. I’m surprised they didn’t find many other writers to contribute, particularly with the big 50th anniversary celebration shindig.
If you want more Wrinkle in Time appreciation, be sure to check out this hilarious cartoon by Faith Erin Hicks (cartoonist creator of the recent Friends With Boys) over on Tor.com, which depicts Exactly What Happened in A Wrinkle in Time:
Also, don’t forget to go back and watch the 90-Second Newbery film of A Wrinkle in Time. You’ve got a minute and a half, right?
Finally, check out Jeremy Sorese’s illustrations of various sections of the story on the Picture Book Report, a site which had many artists creating illustrations of scenes from their favorite books. Although there is no new artwork being posted on the site now, it’s definitely worth perusing if you haven’t seen it already.
Disclosure: GeekDad received a review copy of the 50th anniversary edition of A Wrinkle in Time.