Thursday, March 18, 2010

Phanton* (for Phantom*)

If you've read it, then you're probably a fan of The Phantom Tollbooth, the 1961 children's classic written by Norton Juster. This book was illustrated by Juster's former roommate, Jules Feiffer, the Pulitzer Prize winning playwright and Village Voice running cartoonist—and occasional children's book author. The latter's daughter Kate is also a children's writer, which must make life fun in the Feiffer family. Even funner than that, though, is the fact that, after 49 years, Jules and Juster have just produced their second children's book together. It's called The Odious Ogre, as I found out the other night at a book reading sponsored by the New York State Writers Institute. (Feiffer is on the road promoting his new memoir, Backing Into Forward—a title that would have delighted Juster's dad, who enjoyed saying things like: "You used to be behind before but now you're first at last.") I mentioned to him that I was currently reading Tollbooth, which I had somehow managed to overlook as a child. Better late than never, though. Of course, the same thing can be said of The Odious Ogre, so look for it at your favorite library in the fall. And in the meantime, please look for today's typo, Phanton*, which shows up 11 times in OhioLINK and may be haunting your catalog as well.

(Jules Feiffer, 1958, from the Library of Congress, New York World-Telegram & Sun Collection, and Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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