TITLE: The Phantom Tollbooth
Author: Norton Juster
Illustrator: Jules Feiffer
Copyright Year: 1961
Recommended by two Dear Friends (who do influence me in certain ways, hopefully for 'The Better') and actually physically being given THE BOOK by one of them (which made a real Impact on me by that kind Gesture alone), I felt then obligated to read:
THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH
in early May of 2008. Before The Beatles and Rolling Stones arrived; before Corvettes became the Hot-Rod of Choice and even before Flower Children (BabyBoomers in disguise) ruled The World…THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH was written.
However and if, I had read it Forty (40 Years ago), when I was a Teen of 15, Chances are I’d have become a Phantom, a Tollbooth or a Mathematician. According to this Text taken at Face Value, I fit in perfectly with The Kingdom of Dictionopolis. Read on: You'll quickly see why.
The Quintessential Writer & Author, Ms. Anna Quindlen’s Testimonial appears on the Inner Front Cover and states:
“I read [The Phantom Tollbooth] first when I was ten. I still have the book report I wrote, which began ‘This is the best book ever.” – Anna Quindlen, The New York Times
Evidently, according to its Line of Credits and Credentials (per the Inside Back Cover):
“Norton Juster…has collaborated with Sheldon Harnick on the libretto for an opera based on the Phantom Tollbooth. The Musical Adaptation, with a Score by Arnold Black, premiered in 1995 and will soon be performed in Schools and Theaters nationwide.”
Unfortunately, being sheltered from some Happenings, I had never heard that News nor did it find its Way into 'my Back Yard' till now. Since there’s no Time like ‘The Present, now (as the Test of Time has successfully proven), THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH ©1961 should really be launched.
AS REQUIRED READING:
BUT BETTER STILL. Because The Book has already influenced so many millions of Readers since its Release in 1961, all Steven Spielberg would have to do is add The Animation, The DreamWorks’ Touch + Name and YES, this BOOK could change The Career of every 9 year old drug runner, potential drop-out, low-life, ne’er-do-well, croppy, sweat bee, prison inmate, etc. who may choose dys-FUN-ction over FUN-ctionality (only because the Choice was unclear and The Guidance was lacking).
THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH can even change The Life of a typical and ordinary Person who has the vested Means to change himself, but never took that (crucial and critical) Leap of Faith.
In an instant, Mr. Spielberg could combine the Lands of Dictionopolis and Digitopolis: After all, his Profession is to procure ‘Dreams that Work” and his Numbers prove it decade-in and decade out.
ASK’s RECOMMENDATION: How to ban Laziness in 257 Pages
“Read THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH for yourself and see. At 257 Pages, it doesn’t take long to read. If I could only have read it ‘Back Then’ my Future would be totally different than The Life I’d be living or leading today.”
Quote of : ASK
Thursday, May 29, 2008 – 12:23 PM
KOOPERSMITH’s INSIGHTS: I suggest The Book be read Five (5) Times to pick-up, understand, ponder and ultimately, enjoy its various Levels of Intelligence:
#1: To grasp The Concept;
#2: To uncover (clever) Twists in Language (Structure);
#3: To synthesize The Illustrations and Toons’
#4: To concentrate on each Individual Character as to how he/she/it appeals and is defined by all (The) Cultures that The Reader experiences throughout The Episodes (no matter if it is 1961 or 2011).
#5: To read The Text and visualize yourself as the Leading Character or whichever Character you most identify with.
In the Grand Scheme of influential Books throughout History, the Context of THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH applies and is penned for each Individual (ever born). No one can place so much meaning onto each Page as Norton Juster has. Even if you prefer not to read anything else (for Summer Prime Time Reading Adventures) or for any other Occasion (Class Assignment, Book Review, etc.) ever again, this Book should be assigned for your Reading List Selection as its Theme will change your Outlook for 'The Better' (if not 'The Best') from that Pivotal Point on.
Some good Authors are considered great (after a certain Span of Time and Establishing themselves as Repeat Authors with something to say). However, when it comes to putting so much Thought into each Scene (that psychologically affects us all with every ensuing Page, Paragraph & Passage), Norton Juster wins The Prize by a long shot.
“No one (in my humble, yet Valued Opinion) comes close.”
Quote of: ASK
Thursday, May 29, 2008 – 1:39 PM CST
Even the Opening Theme centering on Boredom is instantly dissolved once The Story unfolds on each Page. Marketing Ploys could systematically start with the Poignant Quotes being reproduced into 16” X 24” Class Posters and used for Inner City Schools. THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH ©1961 lets its Reader see what Life is all about and how it should be conducted every Day, no matter what your supposed Limitations are.
I certainly don’t want to give any of THE PLOT away. That’s why I’m writing (and reviewing it) more abstractly than I usually do, but the Justerian Clues are all there, set down on Paper, riding out each Day with each new Reader that picks it up who discovers its Intricacies. Now and more than ever before, THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH ©1961 needs to be immortalized by Steven Spielberg, similarly to how he introduced and produced Sharks, Bees, ExtraTerrestrials and numerous other Social Injustices into our Lives, that are Part of Our Collective Conscience, Memories and The Thread of Life that connects.
TIC-TOC-ing away: The Time has arrived…for The Book named THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH ©1961 to be(come) a Major Motion Picture.
There’s no better ‘Rhyme or Reason’ to read THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH than only because it’s written for The Common, yet astonishing Benefit of Man.”
Quote of: ASK
Friday, May 29, 2008 - 6:46 AM
Wish I would have written it...However, for the Billions of us Writers who didn't cease that Angle (before the Spirituality Slant rolled in), at least We live in Mr. Norton's Era in which THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH appeared, knowing that any 'Sea of Knowledge' can be crossed and fathomed.
To paraphrase the insightful 3-Page Dedication called: “The Appreciation” that Maurice Sendak wrote in 1996 (12 Years ago) in Commemoration of a new Printing of THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH:
“We need this Book to ‘rescue and restore our World,’ which…the last 12 Years has fallen into more disarray and dire Times than The Era and Decades in which The Text was first penned.
Enter: Steven Spielberg…hopefully, your Google Alert ® is working today…
THE 5-WORD WRAP-UP:
THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH ©1961: That is such a Book…
Quote of ASK: Thursday, May 29, 2008 -12:23 PM
Better late(r) than never at all…
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ASK: Adrienne Sioux Koopersmith
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