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.