The Phantom Tollbooth – Love Of Words
More than any book I read as a child, The Phantom Tollbooth (1961) by Norton Juster, gave me a love of words– it puns them, pushes them, and plunders their meaning. It’s overflowing with inventiveness: the man who is short, tall, thin and fat, at the same time; an orchestra that plays colours; a city that disappears because nobody cares. And I love the illustrations by Jules Feiffer, especially this faceless timewaster, The Trivium, who has a message for all writers:
What could be more important than doing unimportant things? … There’s always something to do to keep you from what you really should be doing.
The story is about a child’s quest to overcome boredom. It’s told with imagination, wit and wisdom — what more could you want in a children’s book?
I had been an odd child: quiet, introverted and moody. Little was expected from me. Everyone left me alone to wander around inside my own head. When I grew up I still felt like that puzzled kid — my thoughts focused on him, and I began writing about his childhood. – Norton Juster
- New Yorker essay about the book
- Vintage covers
- Video interview with the author
- My Accidental Masterpiece by Norton Juster