Throwback Thursday – The Phantom Tollbooth

Written in 1961 by Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth is a whimsical adventure – kind of like a boy’s version of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (even though boys and girls should read both of them). Confession time – I’m not 100% sure I read this book, but I think I did. If I didn’t, I should’ve. However, I did watch the movie.


I have a lot of ‘memories’ from when I was a kid about books and movies that I’ve virtually given up hope ever figuring out. There’s one about this woman (who may have magical powers) in this beautiful dress with bell sleeves that lives under the water. It involves a lot of music. It’s in that style/time of The Last Unicorn but no one has ever known what I’m talking about. I’m beginning to think that my over active kid imagination made it up, or it’s the remnant of a dream – it would not be the first time. But damn it, I want to figure out what it is! I’d include a picture of it here to see if anyone could help me, but then I’d have to know what it was and the vicious circle continues its crazy making journey.

The Phantom Tollbooth was one of these things. For years, I didn’t know that’s what my memories were from. I just had this weird memory of this dog with a watch in his belly in this cave with things that made you lazy. That was it. I had nothing else attached to it, except our family tv room with its ugly orange couches covered in farmhouses and wagon wheels. Then sometime last summer I was at the cabin with friends, spending a lazy morning watching tv, and bang there was the movie. The second it started, even in the live action portion, I knew what it was.


I loved that stupid dog, and all the puns! It’s delightful. If you’ve got kids in your life, make this part of theirs. Make them punny as soon as you can.



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