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A Swiftly Tilting Planet (A Wrinkle in Time Quintet) Mass Market Paperback – May 1, 2007

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Editorial Reviews Review

Fifteen-year-old Charles Wallace Murry, whom readers first met in A Wrinkle in Time, has a little task he must accomplish. In 24 hours, a mad dictator will destroy the universe by declaring nuclear war--unless Charles Wallace can go back in time to change one of the many Might-Have-Beens in history. In an intricately layered and suspenseful journey through time, this extraordinary young man psychically enters four different people from other eras. As he perceives through their eyes "what might have been," he begins to comprehend the cosmic significance and consequences of every living creature's actions. As he witnesses first-hand the transformation of civilization from peaceful to warring times, his very existence is threatened, but the alternative is far worse.

The Murry family, also appearing in A Wind in the Door and Many Waters, acts as a carrier of Madeleine L'Engle's unique message about human responsibility for the world. Themes of good versus evil, time and space travel, and the invincibility of the human spirit predominate. Even while she entertains, L'Engle kindles the intellect, inspiring young people to ask questions of the world, and learn by challenging. (Ages 9 and older) --Emilie Coulter --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-9. This recording completes Madeleine L'Engle's reading of the time travel trilogy that includes A Wrinkle in Time (FS&G, 1962) and A Wind in the Door (FS&G, 1973). Fans of the earlier works will avidly follow the further adventures of the O'Keefe family as they embark on a 24-hour quest to stop the destruction of the world by dictator "Mad Dog Branzillo." with the help of an ancient rune, the assistance of a wise and fearless unicorn, and the use of "kything" ( a type of especially acute telepathic communication), 15-year-old Charles Wallace attempts to trace the connections over time and generations that have led to Branzillo's rise to power. L'Engle uses essentially the same voice throughout the reading, which sometimes makes it difficult to know who is speaking. In addition, a slight lisp and a tendency to overemphasize sibilant sounds detract from the quality of the listening experience. This is an example of a recording where the material is wonderful but would have been more effectively presented by a professional narrator rather an by the author. Nevertheless, most public libraries will want to purchase this due to L'Engle's continued popularity among upper elementary and junior high school students.?Cindy Lombardo, Ashland Public Library, OH
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Audio Cassette edition.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 10 - 14 years
  • Grade Level: 6 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 850L (What's this?)
  • Series: A Wrinkle in Time Quintet (Book 4)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Square Fish (May 1, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0312368569
  • ISBN-13: 978-0312368562
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (196 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #28,494 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Madeleine L'Engle, the popular author of many books for children and adults, has interspersed her writing and teaching career with raising three children, maintaining an apartment in New York and a farmhouse of charming confusion which is called "Crosswicks."

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

60 of 65 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 19, 1999
Format: Paperback
I read Wrinkle in Time when I was 11 and thought it was the best thing I'd ever read. Wind in the Door and Swiftly Tilting Planet were published when I was an adult. I liked Wind in the Door, but it didn't have the "agic"of Wrinkle. When I picked up Swiftly Tilting Planet, I thought that I would enjoy it, but it wouldn't be up to par with Wrinkle. Boy was I wrong!
Planet was the most magnificient book I've ever read. I'm 46 years old and have read thousands of books over my lifetime, including all of Madeleine L'Engle's titles. This story is so inspirational, suspenseful, frightning, heartbreaking and joyful. It's just the best.
I use The Rune when I need a little "igher power"in my life as well as traditional prayers. I recommend it to everyone. It may be complicated for some children, but Ms. L'Engle doesn't write down for anyone. It can be a joyeous experience for the imaginative child and adult as well.
I think I'll sign off and go read it again right now.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Blake Petit VINE VOICE on June 23, 2006
Format: Paperback
This is perhaps my favorite book in L'Engle's famous "Time Quartet." Set a decade after the events of the previous book, A Wind in the Door, Meg Murray and Calvin O'Keefe are now married and she pregnant when he is sent overseas one Thanksgiving. She takes her mother-in-law to her family's home for the holiday, but the mood of the celebration is shattered when the President calls Mr. Murray with dire news: the Central American dictator Mad Dog Branzillo has gotten his hands on a nuclear arsenal, and his fingers are stroking the button. A cryptic rune uttered by Mrs. O'Keefe sends the 15-year-old Charles Wallace on a quest through time itself on a desperate search for the link between Calvin's family and the Might-Have-Been that he has to change to save the world.

Although this is, like I said, my favorite of the Time Quartet, it's safe to say it wouldn't be as good a book without the previous two. L'Engle tries to make the story self-contained, but there's very little in this book in the way of character development, she relies heavily on readers' conceptions of the characters from the previous novels to drive this story forward. The book is also very episodic -- Charles Wallace goes Within various people at various times, and with each of them he experiences a lifetime. The book almost reads like a series of interconnected short stories linked through the framing sequence of Charles trying to stop Branzillo. As a result, there are multiple antagonists and protagonists alike, giving the book a very epic, far-reaching feel.

This is, like I said, my favorite of the Time Quartet -- I just wouldn't recommend reading it by itself.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover
A lot of the reviews begin with the reviewers' stories of when they first read the book. Like them, I discovered "A Swiftly Tilting Planet" when I was very young, and I still love it. It is the kind of book you can read again and again as you grow up. Each new time it is read it can reveal new layers of meaning. When I first read it, I thought it was just an adventure story with a unicorn (a really great adventure story, of course). Then I began to see how it took a stand for love and against apathy. In the plot, Charles Wallace has to fight the Echthroi (evil forces). Writing this story was Madeleine L'Engle's own way of fighting the Echthroi, which really exist. Through her story, she warns us about not letting the "Might-Have-Been's" haunt us; she asks us to take a stand "in this fateful hour" against the "powers of darkness." If this is too mystical for some of you to stomach, then you probably have not entered this author's world, which, like the Christian world, is teeming with angels and demons. In this world, everyone must choose sides.
This is a book that children should have on their bookshelves. It may be a little to heavy for them at first, but as they get older, the layers of meaning will begin to become apparent to them. I have given all my younger cousins copies of Madeleine L'Engle books for their libraries. That is one way I know of teaching them how to care about the past-present-future of the Universe.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Book Lover on June 26, 2004
Format: Paperback
A Wrinkle in Time was one of my favorite books ever, so I read the sequals with much anticipation. This book was a little disappointing mainly because Meg and Charles Wallace are not featured that often. Most of the book revolves around a historical family, one side bad and one good, and the attempt to go back in time and change the outcome of events in order to prevent war in the present. The time travelling aspect is interesting, and the talking unicorn is very lovable, but I just did not find these historical characters very interesting. Also did not care for the idea that one family line can be inherently bad. Still an enjoyable read, and L'engle has many heartfelt quotations, and Meg's family is still as loving and inspirational. I was also disappointed that Meg has lost her spunkiness. But I guess that is just part of growing up, and she is growing up into a beautiful woman, just like her mother.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Anne B. on March 10, 2002
Format: Paperback
I am a mom with two bright boys, ages 8 and 11. My husband and I read this book to the 11 year old, but I also read it to myself.
In this book, the protagonist travels back and forth through time to change history to try to prevent a catastrophe. The changes must be very subtle to avoid paradox. The story line is complex because the reader must keep track of many generations of two branches of the same family. The story is very suspenseful because bad spirits are constantly trying to kill the protagonist, or prevent his success.
The book has good points and bad points.
On the good side:
1. The book presents a peace loving and anti-racist point of view;
2. It also makes a fascinating exploration of historical rumors that when British colonists first arrived in the southern part of the US they found a tribe of Welsh-speaking Native Americans with some Caucasian features; and
3. I enjoyed the complexity, but you really had to pay very close attention, or you got lost -- like my husband did.
On the bad side:
1. I did not like the idea that, starting from two brothers, the descendents of the bad brother would be bad and the descendents of the good brother would be good over several hundred years and a large number of generations. Each person makes his or her own destiny and decisions of right and wrong. It's not a very good message to send kids that a person's goodness and badness are determined by some ancestor so long ago. This is the sort of attitude that leads to perpetual war in the Balkans.
2. There was one very disturbing sequence about a critical character being severely injured and ultimately dying as a result of child abuse. This portion was really not appropriate for small children.
In sum, though this is an interesting, enjoyable book, I disagree it is appropriate for ages 9-12. It would be better for teenagers.
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