Liz Kessler: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

This month, the wonderful children’s writer Liz Kessler has chosen Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth. Liz’s latest book, Has Anyone Seen Jessica Jenkins is out in August. Check out her brilliant website here.

“I would like to recommend The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. I read this book as a child and absolutely loved it. I have re-read it as an adult and love it just as much – if not more! This book is special for a number of reasons. The first is because it is simply one of the cleverest children’s books ever! The way that this book plays with ideas, with language and with characters is an absolute joy. On top of that, what I love about this book is the fact that it is about an ordinary boy who stumbles into a magical world. On a subliminal level, I suppose it might have influenced me more deeply than I ever realised as this is exactly the kind of idea I like to play with too. I like to take ordinary, contemporary children living ordinary contemporary lives – and put a bit of magic into their world. Whether that is to do with mermaids, fairies, time travel or entire new worlds, at the heart of this is the desire to give young readers a way to identify with the characters and offer them the chance to consider that perhaps their life could contain some magic too. The Phantom Tollbooth does this so beautifully, and is one of the most entertaining reads ever. So go out and read it – and enjoy getting lost with Milo in Norton Juster’s fantastically comical and wonderful world beyond the tollbooth.”


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