The Tesseract:
A Madeleine L'Engle Bibliography
Murry Family Novels (Time Quintet)

[Dr. Murry & Dr. Murry and their children: Meg, twins Sandy & Dennys, and Charles Wallace Murray; also featuring Calvin O'Keefe, who marries Meg prior to the events of A Swiftly Tilting Planet. A fifth book, An Acceptable Time, makes the series a quintet, but is actually part of the O'Keefe family series, one generation after the Murry family. Everyone in the original Murry family, plus Calvin, also appears in the O'Keefe series, except for Charles Wallace, who as an adult is mysteriously absent and incommunicado from the rest of the family.]

Major characters introduced in this series include:

Dr. Alexander (Alex) Murry - The father of Meg, Sandy, Dennys and Charles Wallace, Dr. Alex Murry is an astrophysicist, researcher into the mysteries of the space/time continuum, specifically five-dimensional means of travel between planets. The second known U.S. government researcher to attempt to "tesser" to Mars, Dr. Murry accidentally transferred himself to the planet Camazotz, where he was imprisoned until rescued by his daughter Meg, his youngest son Charles Wallace and their friend Calvin O'Keefe. Over the years, Dr. Murry has been consulted by more than one U.S. President on a variety of subjects, some of them having little apparent connection to Dr. Murry's chosen field (but appearances are deceiving). The loving and beloved husband of Dr. Kate Murry, Alex suffers from arthritis in his later years.<>

Dr. Katherine (Kate) Murry - A microbiologist, wife of Dr. Alex Murry and mother of the four Murry children, Dr. Kate Murry won a Nobel Prize for isolating farandolae within mitochondria. She is also considered beautiful by the Murry children and others with her violet eyes and "flaming red" hair.  The combination of physical attractiveness and academic and scientific accomplishments leads to a bit of an inferiority complex for her daughter Meg.  In later years, Kate conducts thought experiments for the most part, leaving her electron microscope largely unused.  Kate's close friend is Dr. Louise Colubra. 

Margaret (Meg) Murry O'Keefe - Meg Murry is the eldest child of Drs. Alex and Kate Murry. Mathematically brilliant but less than adept at other subjects in school, Meg undergoes a difficult adolescence: awkward-looking, prickly and oversensitive around authority figures, unpopular and desperately longing for her missing father. Meg and her little brother meet Calvin O'Keefe, with whom they rescue Meg's father from Camazotz.  Some years after another harrowing adventure involving Charles Wallace's mitochondria, Meg marries Calvin. While pregnant with her first child, Meg lends moral support to Charles Wallace as he travels through time in an attempt to prevent a world war.  Meg and Calvin allow Canon Tallis to name their first child Polyhymnia, but their other children are named primarily after family members: Charles, Alexander, Dennys, Peggy, Johnny and Mary. The family lives in various places over the years, most notably the Portuguese island of Gaea and Benne Seed Island, South Carolina.  Although Meg does not initially go after her doctorate, she helps her marine biologist husband with mathematical equations, and is considering going back to school as Polly (Polyhymnia) approaches adulthood.  <>

Dr. Calvin O'Keefe - The third eldest of of Paddy and Branwen O'Keefe's 11 children, Calvin is a tall, skinny, orange-haired 14-year-old high school junior who plays on the school basketball team. Neglected by his own family, Calvin joyfully gets involved with the Murrys, becoming especially close to Meg (whom he eventually marries) and Charles Wallace.  As an adult he becomes a highly regarded marine biologist, studying the regenerative abilities of starfish and applying his findings in experiments in limb regeneration in mammals.  Well-aware of the dangers and moral implications of his work, Dr. O'Keefe is extremely careful to prevent its misuse. He also lends his expertise to assist in the protection of the environment from mankind's abuse. Calvin is a loving father but not over-protective, and treats his children with respect.

Charles Wallace Murry - The youngest child of the Doctors Murry, Charles Wallace is both the most extraordinary and the most vulnerable, a possible "sport" in the sense of biological mutation. Charles Wallace did not talk at all until he was nearly four years old, but he then began to speak in entire sentences, skipping over "the usual baby preliminaries."  At the age of five, Charles is already able to empathically or telepathically "read" his mother's and sister's thoughts and feelings, and possesses an extraordinary vocabulary.  His need to find his father leads him to trust too much in his mental abilities on Camazotz, and he is taken over by the evil intelligence called IT before his sister Meg returns to rescue him.  A year later, the first grader meets the "singular cherubim" Proginoskes, who in turn helps Meg and Calvin to save Charles Wallace's life from mitochondritis. At fifteen, Charles travels across time on a unicorn's back to help change the might-have-beens of the past and thus prevent a nuclear war.  Little is known to date about Charles Wallace Murry as an adult. In A House Like a Lotus, Polly O'Keefe notes that her uncle Charles Wallace is "off somewhere on some kind of secret mission, we don't know where." Madeleine L'Engle has said that "Charles Wallace is alive until I'm told otherwise."

Alexander (Sandy) Murry - Sandy Murry and his twin brother Dennyss aare the middle children in the the Murry family, younger than Meg and older than Charles Wallace.  Sandy is named after his father, Dr. Alex Murry.  Although they are certainly intelligent, Sandy and his twin are considered the "normal" children in the family: B students, good at sports, and well able to fit in with their peers.  Of the twins, Sandy is generally the leader, and the more pragmatic of the two. Sandy is often skeptical about the adventures of Meg and Charles Wallace, particularly before, at the age of 15, he and his twin find themselves on an adventure of their own at the time of Noah. Both Sandy and Dennys fall in love with Noah's daughter, Yalith, before returning to their own time. This experience seems to make Sandy more thoughtful, more open to possibilities and more concerned with good and evil in the world. As an adult, Sandy successfully fulfills his longtime ambition of becoming a lawyer. Along with his Crete-born wife Rhea, also a lawyer, Sandy travels the world battling multi-national corporations on behalf of underdeveloped nations or in defense of the environment.  Sandy is Polly O'Keefe's favorite uncle. Polly's brother Alexander (Xan) is named after Sandy, and also shares the name with Sandy's father, Dr. Alex Murry.

Dr. Dennys Murry - See previous entry.  Dennys Murry is the twin of Sandy Murry.  As a child, Dennys and his twin are usually inseparable, with Dennys generally following Sandy's lead. However, the teenage Dennys is slightly more open-minded and philosophical than his brother with respect to the strange theories and even stranger adventures which pop up from time to time in the Murry household.  At the age of fifteen, Dennys and Sandy accidentally tesser to the home oasis of the Biblical figure Noah, where Dennys is separated from Sandy and seriously injured by some of Noah's neighbors.  This leads to a long recovery period in which, still separated from his brother, Dennys becomes more independent of his twin.  As an adult, Dennys is a medical doctor, a vocation he chose as a teenager or earlier.  [Note: The name Dennys is a shortened version of Dionysus, but is pronounced the same way as the more common spelling Dennis.]

Other characters found in more than one book in this series include Dr. Louise Colubra (A Wind in The Door, An Acceptable Time) and Mr. Jenkins (A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door). Calvin's mother, Branwen ("Beezy") Maddox O'Keefe, is referred to in A Wrinkle in Time, but we don't actually meet her until A Swiftly Tilting Planet.


Newbery Award winner, 1962. Meg, Charles Wallace and new friend Calvin rescue Meg's father from the evil planet Camazotz, aided by the mysterious travelers Mrs Whatsit, Mrs Who and Mrs Which.

[Shown at left: original 1960s FSG dust jacket designed by Ellen Raskin, with Newbery Medal added. Later dust jacket is by Leo & Diane Dillon.]

Special Note: At least two book club / uniform edition hardcovers of A Wrinkle in Time are frequently listed on eBay as first editions. They're not. Here's how to tell these three editions apart:

 1. The (U.S.) First Edition is published by Farrar, Straus and Cudahy (precursor of Farrar, Straus & Giroux) under their Ariel Books imprint. A First does not have any reference to the book being a Newbery Award winner, because it hadn't won the award yet. The indicia page probably gives the Library of Congress catalog number 62-7203, and probably also mentions that the book is published simultaneously in Canada by Ambassador Books Ltd., Toronto. I've never seen a genuine American First of this book, but bookseller David Holloway, who has one in his personal collection, reports the following identifying features:

The dust jacket spine reads L'Engle A WRINKLE IN TIME Ariel

Front panel of DJ shows the three silhouettes in circles with title and author. No Award Sticker or notice. The dust jacket is priced $3.25 with "12 and up" written underneath.

The binding of my copy has a blue cloth spine, and paper covered boards with a patterned paper that looks a bit like marble. (not "marbled paper" but the actual stone)

The copyright page reads in part "First printing, 1962"

And the publisher is FARRAR, STRAUSS AND CUDAHY.

2. What is probably the earliest book club edition of A Wrinkle in Time was published by Junior Deluxe Editions, apparently with no reference to FSG on the indicia page. The dust jacket, if present, is also like the publisher's edition, with no Newbery medal on it. It has been reported that there is no reference to a Newbery medal inside, either, which leads me to think this book club is from 1962 or possibly early 1963. The cover has pictures of Meg, Charles and Calvin on the spine. The indicia page states:

Copyright @1962 by Madeleine L'Engle Franklin
Published simultaneously in Canada by Ambassador Books, Ltd.,Toronto
Manufactured in the United States Of America.
Garden City, NY: Junior Deluxe Editions, 1962

There is no Library of Congress catalog number on the indicia page.

3. The other uniform cover / book club edition has a black and yellowish-orange cover. The title on the front cover is in blue ink in the middle of a banner of blue and silver lines. The same kinds of blue and silver lines separate the title (in silver) from the name L'Engle (also in silver) on the spine. The dust jacket, if there is one, has the same illustration as the publisher's edition, but says "Book Club Edition" on the inside flap. Inside, the title page says Newbery Award 1963. The indicia page gives a 1962 copyright date, mentions the simultaneous Canadian publisher Ambassador Books, and says "Manufactured in the United States of America." No catalog number or printing number is given. This book is part of a series of classic YA / children's titles that were all put out with black and yellow-orange covers with blue and silver titles. they all look the same on the outside, even through various publishers are listed on the different books. Other known books in the series include Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers, Little House In The Big Woods by Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe by C S Lewis and National Velvet by Enid Bagnold.

203 pages
(8.49" x 5.77" x .91")

LC 62-7203


Farrar Straus & Giroux

(originally Farrar, Straus & Cudahy

(Ariel Books)

Jun 1962 available (with different dust jacket art from 1960s edition) at least two different dust jackets issued, plus the addition of the Newbery Medal to the original dark blue cover
hardcover book club  none Junior Deluxe Editions possibly 1962 or 1963 out of print, somewhat hard to find same dust jacket as FS&G 1962 edition but with no Newbery medal, and the words "Book Club Edition" on the inside flap
hardcover book club #2  none

nominally Farrar Straus & Giroux

(Ariel Books)

  1960s out of print, uncommon but not rare same dust jacket as FS&G 1962 edition but no Newbery medal. Black and orange cover. Uniform edition.
book club paperback unknown Scholastic Book Services 1970 out of print Arrow Book Club or TAB (Teen Age Books)
paperback (hardcover- size)


(same as hardback)

Farrar Straus & Giroux 1978? out of print, hard-to-find Softcover identical to 1978 hardback with Dillon cover. Either part of box set or a review copy.
large print
 1557360596 Cornerstone Books  Sep 1987 out of print  Isis Large Print Books
For Children.
 25th anniversary edition
 0374386145 Farrar Straus & Giroux  Dec 1987  out of print, rare  Ltd edition of 500 signed copies
turtleback edition 060605085X Demco Media Jul 1994 available "Turtleback" is a hardcover library binding with no dust jacket.
Spanish language paperback 8420440744 Lectorum Publications May 1995 available Una Arruga En El Tiempo
8.45 x 5.12 x .52
trade paperback 0440498058 Dell Yearling Books 1976* (and probably much earlier ) available 7.61" x 5.15" x .62"
mass market
0440998050 Dell Laurel-Leaf Nov 1995? available 6.79" x 4.2" x .43"
mass market
0440227151 Dell
Jun 1997 available new cover and foreword by L'Engle
book &
0807274135 Listening Library Sep 1993 available read by the author
0807274127 Listening Library Sep 1993 available clamshell packaging, read by the author
0394771575 Amer School Publications Jan 1986 available scholastic edition
cassettes 0807275875 Listening Library Sep 1995 available cardboard packaging, read by the author
7.11" x 4.12" x 1.18"
trade paperback (workbook) 0590373609 Scholastic Paperbacks Sep 1997 available Literature Guide

 Study Questions: A Wrinkle in Time

Because I'm constantly asked for help with school assignments involving this book, here are some questions to think about as you read about A Wrinkle in Time, and some general advice to help with your schoolwork:


The most important part of any reading assignment is to READ THE BOOK. There is no good substitute for this - ­­not study guides, not web sites, not reading the dust jacket or back cover and trying to fake it from there. Trust me; I tried the alternatives myself when I was in school (except the web, which didn't exist then). They never helped much. You're much better off reading the book than hunting for the answers online or in Cliff Notes or whatever. It doesn't take much longer than trying to do it the lazy way, and the result is a better understanding of the book and a better grade. If you're running out of time, read as much as you can, skim the middle part, and read the end. It's not as good as reading the whole thing, but it's better than not reading it at all!

The second most important part of a reading assignment is to THINK ABOUT THE BOOK. What does it mean to you? Is it "just a bunch of stuff that happens" (as Homer Simpson once said), or is the author writing about ideas and problems that are important in the real world too? Don't get stressed out if you don't understand everything in the book, and don't worry about finding out what someone else has said about it and what it all means. Think for yourself first, and then afterwards let your teacher guide you into understanding it better.


1. How are good and evil portrayed in this book? What is so evil about Camazotz? How are the good people in the book different from the people on Camazotz?

2. Why does Meg have trouble fitting in at school? Is it her fault, somebody else's fault, some of each, or nobody's fault?

3. Why does it have to be Meg who saves Charles Wallace? How does she do it?

4. What is a tesseract? Are there other concepts like that in Star Trek or other science fiction?

5. What is Mrs Whatsit really like?

6. Why do you think it is that some people have tried to get this book banned? Why are they wrong in thinking that this book is anti-Christian? Is it ever right to ban a book?

There you go. I hope that helps!



Meg and Calvin go inside one of Charles Wallace's mitochondria, accompanied by a farandola, a cherubim and school principal Mr. Jenkins, to save Charles from the evil Echthroi.

211 pages

L C 73-75176


Farrar Straus & Giroux 1973 available

8.56" x 5.76" x .96"

First dust jacket by Richard Cuffari; second by Leo & Diane Dillon

large print
1560546158 Thorndike Press Mar 1993 out of print Thorndike Large Print Fantasy
unknown edition
197 pages
041681090X Methuen Books unknown out of print Probably a hardcover library binding with no dust jacket.
paperback (hardcover- size) 0374384436 Farrar Straus & Giroux 1978? out of print, hard-to-find Softcover identical to 1978 hardback with Dillon cover. Either part of box set or a review copy.
trade paperback 0440487617 Dell Yearling Books 1976 available 7.61" x 5.15" x .62"
mass market
044098761X Dell Laurel-Leaf Jan 1992? available 6.79" x 4.2" x .43"
book &
0807275077 Listening Library Sep 1994 available 6.76" x 4.18" x .43"
(library pack)
0807275069 Listening Library Sep 1994 available 7.35" x 5.57" x 1.25"
clamshell packaging, read by the author

*current price; only given for books that are still in print


American Book Award winner. Newly married Meg O'Keefe takes a telepathic journey with her youngest brother as Charles Wallace rides a unicorn through time in a quest to save the world.

278 pages

LC 78-9648


Farrar Straus & Giroux Jul 1978 available 8.59" x 5.84" x 1.07"
school & library binding
large print
1560547103 Thorndike Press May 1993 out of print Thorndike Large Print Young Adult Series
paperback (hardcover- size) 0374373620 Farrar Straus & Giroux 1978? out of print, hard-to-find Softcover identical to 1978 hardback with Dillon cover. Either part of box set or a review copy.
turtleback edition 0606018417 Demco Media Jan 1996 probably available "Turtleback" is probably a hardcover library binding with no dust jacket.
trade paperback 0440401585 Dell Yearling Books 1979 available 7.58" x 5.13" x .74"
mass market
0440901588 Dell Laurel-Leaf Jan 1996? available 6.78" x 4.18" x .48"
book &
cassettes & guide(?)
0807277576 Listening Library Sep 1996 available unabridged, read by the author



A few words typed on their mother's computer send Sandy & Dennys to the time and home oasis of the Biblical figure Noah, where both mundane and supernatural dangers await them.

310 pages

LC 86-14911


Farrar Straus & Giroux 1986 available 1.09 x 8.58 x 5.81
turtleback edition 0606050914 Demco Media Dec 1991 probably out of print "Turtleback" is a hardcover library binding with no dust jacket.
0440405483 Dell Yearling 1987 available 7.58" x 5.15" x .80"
mass market paperback 0440227704  Laurel Leaf  June 1998  available

 0.95 x 6.92 x 4.19

illustrated by Cliff Nelson and Peter Sis

The Time Quartet (the four books above) was reprinted in 1998 Laurel Leaf editions with new covers and a new introduction by Madeleine L'Engle. However, the ISBN has not changed from earlier Laurel Leaf printings.

An Acceptable Time is also sometimes considered part of this series of books, since it involves time travel and features Meg's parents, Dr. Murry and Dr. Murry. However, it is primarily about Polly O'Keefe, so I have it on my page about the O'Keefe family instead.


A Wrinkle in Time, A Wind in the Door, and A Swiftly Tilting Planet  make up The Time Trilogy. The Time Quartet  is all of the above plus Many Waters . Add An Acceptable Time (sold separately) to get the Time Quintet.

3 volumes



Dell Yearling Oct 1986 out of print Madeleine L'Engle's Time Trilogy
4 volumes
0440360374 Dell Yearling Nov 1991 available Madeleine L'Engle's Time Quartet
7.69" x 5.22" x 2.78

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Last updated 10/8/2011