Author: Madeleine L'Engle
Details: (c) 1973 Crosswicks Ltd; Pub Dell Yearling 1974; ISBN 0-440-487617
Verdict: A wind in the door is a readable and thought-provoking children's classic.
Reasons for reading it: I liked L'Engle as a child, and the sad recent news of her death prompted me to reread this.
How it came into my hands: I picked it up in a second hand bookshop in Berkeley when I was travelling. It appears to be signed, though I don't know whether L'Engle really did sign it or if the owner forged her signature because he was such a big fan.
Reading this as an adult, I can completely see why L'Engle is so highly rated. It's very good writing, a lovely story with excellent characterization, and it also discusses some sophisticated ideas without being didactic or patronizing. Yes, it is an explicitly Christian book, but it's completely the opposite of ham-fisted allegory. As far as these genre distinctions are important, it falls more on the side of SF than fantasy, which is fairly unusual in stories aimed at this age group. Of course, I'm biased, but I couldn't help loving the mitochondria! How many kids' books have mitochondria?! I also like the sense of real danger, the way that although Charles Wallace is obviously a chosen child, he doesn't get to solve all his problems by the sheer force of his Chosenness.
I don't suppose there are many people who haven't read the Wrinkle in Time series, but you definitely should if you haven't. And I will be most certainly be recommending it to kids I come into contact with. A wind in the door is moving and memorable and original.