Friday, December 3, 2010

The Phantom Tollbooth

Finished The Phantom Tollbooth written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Fieffer, published in 1961. In elementary school in the 70s I felt like this book was always around, hovering at the edges of things. Maybe because it looked like a boy's book, or maybe because it seemed too science fictiony, I always avoided it and never actually read it until now. It's so wonderfully clever and original. Like the C.S. Lewis' wardrobe, the tollbooth is the gateway to a magical world where so much seems to take place, but when a child returns to their own world, very little time has passed. When it was published there was concern that the book was too smart, too challenging for children to grasp. I think it would be interesting to read it as a child and then revisit it as an adult to compare the two reading experiences. Juster is also the author of the charming The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics. I remember seeing the film version of this in math class numerous times.

I found a wonderful interview with Juster on

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