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A Wrinkle in Time Book Club Review by Rheea Hermoso-Prudente

Literary Adventure for Kids
Hide the Chocolate
236 East Main Street
Mcminnville, Tennessee 37110
https://www.hidethechocolate.com/book-club-landing-page/

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle is only one of the several books tackled in Literary Adventure for Kids Book Clubs. Created by Dachelle McVey of Hide the Chocolate blog, A Wrinkle in Time Book Club, as with these other online book clubs, is not the usual character studies or plot analysis discussions.

Instead, each book club, which runs for about a month, features ‘rabbit trails,’ ‘magic dust,’ vocabulary and grammar, and party school. What are these exactly? Rabbit trails, as the name implies, are inspired-by-the-book topics that you study a bit more deeply. For example, in the A Wrinkle in Time Book Club, there are rabbit trails that lead to hurricanes (because Meg was sitting through a hurricane in the opening chapter); what a physicist does (Meg’s father is one); and the difference between utopia and dystopia (one of which Camazotz is). These topics aren’t directly related to the plot or theme in the book or story.

Magic Dust is what Dachelle calls hands on activities that are again inspired by something mentioned or happening in the book, but not directly related to the story or plot. There’s a jam-making session for example, stemming from the “strawberry jam or raspberry jam” comment of Charles Wallace in one of the chapters. There’s also an art lesson on drawing with perspective; a recipe for making French toast; a hot chocolate making session; and my favorite, games using the periodic table of the elements.

The book club ends with party school, which is a grand way to celebrate the end of a book. There are recommended decorations, food to serve, and activities—all inspired by the book. The suggested food includes the Murrys’ favorites: liverwurst and cream cheese sandwiches (not sure if my kids would eat this though), tomato sandwiches, caviar, and stew. Food from IT may sound a bit more palate-pleasing: turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberries, and sweet potatoes with browned marshmallows. Dachelle also gives suggestions how to create an outer space ambience, and what you could wear as a costume. Activities include a movie and creating a nebula with chalk pastels. 

Finally, the A Wrinkle in Time Book Club includes some bonus materials on Madeleine L’Engle (including the pronunciation of her name), and a lesson on banned books.

All these lessons use the Teachable platform. Most introductions, explanations, links, videos, and photos are included in each lesson, so you don’t really need to leave the site to go through the materials. You do need to have an Internet connection to access the lessons. Any other materials you may need (like for the activities) are listed at the start, and in the appropriate lesson.

A Wrinkle in Time Book Club costs $19.99

I like the idea of rabbit trails. After all, who hasn’t while reading, thought, “Hey, what a cool idea/person/place/time! I think I’ll check that out after I finish reading this book.” A Wrinkle in Time Book Club has several rabbit trails that I wouldn’t normally think of pursuing. The topic on evolving language, for example, is a good jump off point for discussion with my girls, because they love words, and word play (and reading), and it’s good for them to think of how some words are no longer used or have taken on a different meaning over the years.

I also like the fact that the needed resources have been gathered for you and placed in the appropriate sections. While these are all available online, it takes time to find them, to integrate them with lessons, and coordinate them with the books that you’re reading. Coming with fun related activities is also not a joke, so having the activities planned out for you is also a big deal.

The party school is a new favorite at our homeschool. In fact, the girls and I finished the reading and discussion of one of their favorite books (we did it with several other girls) and we held party school and it was a hit.

I was disappointed with the vocabulary and grammar portion. All the books clubs work with Brave Writer writing program. A Wrinkle in Time Book Club makes use of Brave Writer Boomerang for the reading and vocabulary part. And if you don't use the Brave Writer, you can just come up with your own dictation and copy work passages from the book. Then you are also asked to write down any words, sentences, etc. that have special meaning, or that you don't understand. I was expecting more.

Overall, A Wrinkle in Time Book Club makes for an interesting addition to the actual book discussion and study. It is, as promised, fun, and it adds supplemental learning and activities with minimal preparation on my part.

- Product review by Rheea Hermoso-Prudente, The Old Schoolhouse® Magazine, LLC, December, 2018

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