“The Phantom Tollbooth” Anniversary


“Juster was an architect who’d written a book that didn’t fit the mold of children’s books at the time — its puns were too sophisticated, the vocabulary was too difficult, and there was that whiff of political metaphor. What’s more, Juster was told “fantasy was bad for children because it disorients them,” he said.”

Yesterday was the 50th anniversary of the publication of “The Phantom Tollbooth.” At the Brooklyn Book Festival on Sunday, the book’s author, Norton Juster, and illustrator Jules Feiffer discussed their collaborative process. And Feiffer explained how he decided to illustrate a children’s book (“You never told me it was a children’s book,” he said, turning to Juster. “You told me it was a political satire on the Cold War”).

Lisa Dusenbery is the former managing editor of The Rumpus. More from this author →