NPR—‘Phantom Tollbooth’ Creators Reunited By An ‘Ogre’

Posted by Kendall Harmon

Fans of a boy named Milo, a watchdog called Tock and a pompous Humbug had reason to rejoice on Wednesday — the day that a picture book called The Odious Ogre was released. Written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer, the book marks the first time that Juster and Feiffer have collaborated since creating The Phantom Tollbooth together in the early 1960s.

That initial alliance was, at least in part, a matter of circumstance. "We were sharing a duplex in the wrong end of Brooklyn Heights," Juster tells NPR's Liane Hansen. At the time, the writer had a $5,000 grant to write a book on urban design. Instead, he dreamed up The Phantom Tollbooth. Each time he wrote a chapter, he would run to Feiffer's half of the house and excitedly read it to him. Feiffer began to scribble drawings inspired by the story.

The rest is kid-lit history.

Though Ogre has fewer pages and more pictures than Tollbooth, Juster is wary of labeling it a book for younger readers: "I'm not sure it's for younger kids," he says. "I'm not sure it's for older kids or even adults. I think it's just a good story."

Read or listen to it all and make sure not to miss the spectacular illustration of the ogre throwing a tantrum.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchArtBooksChildren

Posted September 6, 2010 at 2:42 pm

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1. Grandmother wrote:

Sorry KSH, but the ‘link” you wrote on only sent me to the “robot” page, but that was a blast too.

September 6, 4:58 pm | [comment link]
2. Branford wrote:

“The Phantom Tollbooth”  - read by my son in 4th grade and still one of his favorite books - check out the Disney psychedelic movie made in 1970 with Chuck Jones-directed animation - very trippin’!

September 6, 5:37 pm | [comment link]
3. Bob Livingston wrote:

Here’s the correct link:
Odious Ogre

September 6, 5:59 pm | [comment link]
4. Kendall Harmon wrote:

My apologies for messing up the link which is now fixed.

One never grows too old for good children’s books!

September 6, 7:02 pm | [comment link]
5. Jeremy Bonner wrote:

Agreed, Kendall.

There are some immortal lines in it.

“Killing Time! Wasting Time is Bad Enough Without Killing It!”

September 6, 9:13 pm | [comment link]

© 2017 Kendall S. Harmon. All rights reserved.

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