Read On!

Mrs. Farquharson’s musings about books for children and young adults

Celebrating Norton Juster


It is the 50th anniversary of Norton Juster’s book, The Phantom Tollbooth, and this event is being celebrated with a newly published annotated version of the book. While the book is a challenge for some intermediate readers, it becomes a favorite for others. The novel is a journey through the world of words and their meanings. Milo is a young boy who is bored, and one day he returns home from school to find a small tollbooth and a map of “the Lands Beyond” in his bedroom. When Milo goes through the tollbooth, he passes into a magical land on a road to Expectations. He goes to the Kingdom of Wisdom and learns about King Azas the Unabridged, ruler of Dictionopolis, and his brother, The Mathemagician, ruler of Digitopolis. Milo makes a friend, Tock, who is a watchdog (a dog with an alarm clock attached to his body). He also meets The Humbug, a beetle-like insect who wants constant attention. There is constant word play in the plot of this novel from being lost in the Doldrums to meeting the demons in the Mountains of Ignorance.


Norton Juster recently teamed up with illustrator, G. Brian Karas, and created Neville, his latest picture book. Neville is a new boy who comes up with an ingenious way to meet friends in his new neighborhood. Young readers will appreciate his creativity.

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