by Madeleine L'Engle
I remember my fourth grade teacher, Miss Ucella, reading this book aloud in the classroom. She would read from it as we waited for the dismissal bell to ring. I remember enjoying the suspense and looking forward to the next day when she would read it again. Every chapter ends with a cliffhanger just like the Hardy Boys and Nancy Drew mysteries, only this is more imaginative. I attempted to capture the magic by reading it to my own children. They too enjoyed the suspense and would ask for just one more chapter! My ten year old wondered if the author had any imagination left after she wrote this book. She also said she loved the way they traveled, and wouldn't mind twinkling back and forth through the calendar too. My seven year old she liked how "mysterious" it was and how she never knew what was going to happen next. She said, "I didn't want it to end." The idea of your mind being controlled by an evil power, forcing you into a subservient zombe-like state was kind of scary for them. The story was so surreal for them though that it didn't give them nightmares.
My ten year old was very intrigued by the description of Aunt Beast and her kind, the benevolent non-humans. "They had four arms and far more than five fingers to each hand, and the fingers were not fingers, but long waving tentacles. They had heads, and they had faces . . . . Where the features would normally be there were several indentations, and in place of ears and hair were more tentacles. They were tall . . . far taller than any man. They had no eyes. Just soft indentations." She took this description and drew her own interpretation of Aunt Beast without all the fingers.
This is a great read aloud of managable length if you haven't done it yet!