Norton Juster, author of The Phantom Tollbooth, tragically passed away from a stroke Monday, March 8th, 2021.

The Phantom Tollbooth is a classic example of children's literature, and contributed to my personal love of wordplay - I still make references to the book quite often. The book displayed the humor and love of playing around with words that those who knew him say he loved.


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    The late Diana Wynne Jones called The Phantom Tollbooth "a little like The Wizard of Oz, only better". High praise, considering what a classic the latter is.
    – Rand al'Thor Mod
    Commented Mar 9, 2021 at 20:37
  • I bought a copy the other day when I saw Juster had died. Looking forward to reading it again and picking up puns and wordplay I didn't get cough cough years ago when I last read it. Commented Mar 12, 2021 at 13:33

2 Answers 2


You have now completed your trip, courtesy of the Phantom Tollbooth. We trust that everything has been satisfactory, and hope you understand why we had to come and collect it. You see, there are so many other boys and girls waiting to use it, too.

It's true that there are many lands you've still to visit (some of which are not even on the map) and wonderful things to see (that no one has yet imagined), but we're quite sure that if you really want to, you'll find a way to reach them all by yourself.

Thank you, Mr. Juster, for showing so many boys and girls how big the world of their imaginations can be. Your creations, your inspiration for people to notice and explore the world around us, your countless puns and wordplay, will live on in our memories.

Rest in Peace, for Peace is the greatest state achieved in Wisdom and ruled by Rhyme and Reason.


And yet, even as he thought of all these things, he noticed somehow that the sky was a lovely shade of blue and that one cloud had the shape of a sailing ship. The tips of the trees held pale, young buds and the leaves were a rich deep green. Outside the window, there was so much to see, and hear, and touch—walks to take, hills to climb, caterpillars to watch as they strolled through the garden. There were voices to hear and conversations to listen to in wonder, and the special smell of each day.

And, in the very room in which he sat, there were books that could take you anywhere, and things to invent, and make, and build, and break, and all the puzzle and excitement of everything he didn't know—music to play, songs to sing, and worlds to imagine and then someday make real. His thoughts darted eagerly about as everything looked new—and worth trying.

"Well, I would like to make another trip," he said, jumping to his feet; "but I really don't know when I'll have the time. There's just so much to do right here."

I read The Phantom Tollbooth to all three of my children, and I just recently bought my youngest son, who loves it particularly, his own copy of the book. There is also an annotated edition of the book that is really wonderful, with a lot of interesting insights into Juster's (and Feiffer's) work on the book.

Norman Juster, you will be missed.

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