Friday, October 21, 2011

The Phantom Tollbooth: 50th Anniversary (ages 9 - 12)

A few books stand out to me from my childhood - books that were rafts I sailed on in my imagination, journeying from place to place, carrying me away from all my cares and worries. A Phantom Tollbooth brought me so much joy as I journeyed with Milo and his trusty watchdog Tock. I loved the wordplay, the thinking, the puns, the secret jokes I could figure out. Tonight, I started reading this with my 10 year old and it brought me right back to that sense of joy I had as a child.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of The Phantom Tollbooth. Random House is publishing a wonderful anniversary edition of this classic book, including new brief essays from authors, educators and artists such as Philip Pullman, Suzanne Collins, Jeanne Birdsall, Mo Willems, and more.
The Phantom Tollbooth 50th Anniversary Edition
by Norton Juster
illustrated by Jules Feiffer
NY: Knopf Books for Young Readers, 2011
to be published October 25, 2011
ages 9 - 12
available at your local library, favorite bookstore, and on Amazon
Filmmaker Hannah Jayanti is making a documentary film about this amazing book: The Phantom Tollbooth Turns 50. Jayanti's project is being funded in part through Kickstarter, a fundraising website that I first heard about through Greg Pincus of The Happy Accident. Watch this trailer and see how it brings you right back to reading The Phantom Tollbooth:

The Phantom Tollbooth Turns 50 - Documentary Trailer from Phantom Tollbooth Documentary on Vimeo.

From the Kickster website, here's a description of the project:
"The Phantom Tollbooth turns 50 this year, and we've joined Norton Juster and Jules Feiffer, Milo and Tock, and a host of authors, critics, teachers and kids - to celebrate the classic 1961 children's book, by making the definitive documentary film about this beloved work of the American imagination. Check out for more info."

With conversations - and banter - from Norton and Jules, this documentary explores the educational, political and linguistic back-story and lasting impact of “one of the great works of fantasy in American Literature” (Leonard S Marcus, author of The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth).

We follow Norton and Jules as they return to the house in Brooklyn Heights where Norton began writing a little story "to get his mind off of what he had to do." Working as an architect, Norton was awarded a grant for a book on Urban Perception, which he promptly didn't write. Instead, he created Milo. When he showed his notes to his neighbor, a young political cartoonist bent on overthrowing the government, Jules began sketching – and The Phantom Tollbooth was born.
The Phantom Tollbooth helped me escape into my own imagination, stirred in me a love of language, and embeded in my soul the sense that books can challenge us to think while they lead us on improbable, delightful journeys. I am so grateful that it is finally my time to share this with my daughter. I was one happy mom tonight reading about Milo, Tock, the Whether Man, the Doldrums as Milo sets off in his little car.

If you make a purchase using the Amazon links on this site, a small portion goes to Great Kid Books (at no cost to you!). Thank you for your support.

©2011 Mary Ann Scheuer, Great Kid Books.

1 comment:

  1. I adore, adore, adore this book! I think I've read it 30 times. Just this last summer, Norton Juster signed my battered copy, right next to Jules Feiffer's autograph.