Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Happy Birthday, Phantom Tollbooth!

The Britannica Blog, who says the book was "first published in September 1961," reports:
Juster taught his young readers to question authority, to question generally, to read and inquire, and certainly to leave a kindly mark on the world.
Not quite half a century old and showing no signs of age, The Phantom Tollbooth well deserves its status as a literary classic. It’s not bad reading for kids, either.

I've loved Norton Juster's book The Phantom Tollbooth since I first discovered it all those decades ago, and a hardback copy holds a permanent place on my bookshelves. You can read excerpts here. It's been made into a film, which is not available on DVD, is online at youtube in 14 parts. part 1:

part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8, part 9, part 10, part 11, part 12, part 13, part 14

Moria gives the film 4 stars and closes by saying, "The film was unfortunately not a success and was little seen in its time. It has however slowly developed a reputation through tv release." The Guardian puts the book #1 in its "book lover's guide to building a brilliant children's library". Another Guardian reviewer says, "The Phantom Tollbooth is a spry allegory and a call to attention. It lodged in my imagination from the first childhood reading; returning to it now ... I find it oddly inspiring." Steven Wu says it's a dazzling book for children, "But adults who have had the misfortune of never reading The Phantom Tollbooth will likely find it a charming tale--but nothing more."


  1. Anonymous8:23 AM

    I _love_ the book! Butch Patrick (Milo in the movie) was Eddie on "The Munsters."
    A Pal

  2. I haven't even thought about that book in 20 years. Oh, how I loved it at the age of 9.