Friday, September 30, 2011

The Phantom Tollbooth - A Banned Book?

The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth
Norton Juster
Illustrated by Jules Feiffer

As I've mentioned before, things have been a bit stressful lately. I was seeking a comfort read, and I found one in The Phantom Tollbooth. When I first read this book, many years ago, I was utterly charmed and enthralled. I loved all the plays on words and the whimsical illustrations. None of these delights were diminished on my recent re-read.

The Phantom Tollbooth  is the story of Milo, a bored little boy who has no interest in the world around him. One day, after hurrying home from school, he discovers a mysterious package in his room. He reluctantly unwraps it, and discovers a “genuine Turnpike Tollbooth” in need of a bit of assembly. Since he has nothing better to do, Milo decides to construct the tollbooth and see what happens.

Milo and Tock meet the Which
What happens is an incredible romp into an adventure of learning and exploration in the kingdom of Wisdom. Wisdom is a strange type of place, where cars may run on thinking, or silence. Milo somehow is put on a quest to restore Rhyme and Reason (two twin sister princesses) to the kingdom. Without Rhyme and Reason, the kingdom has dissolved into a place of absurdity.

So why would a book that promotes learning and exploration be challenged or banned? I have no idea. I’ve seen The Phantom Tollbooth referred to as a banned book, but I can’t find any details about it. Does anyone have any details about this?

Update: I notice people keep finding this post by wondering why The Phantom Tollbooth was a banned book, so I thought I'd post a link to what I found: Supposedly a librarian in Boulder, Colorado, removed it from the shelves and locked it away because it was "poor fantasy." I have no idea how accurate this is, but it's the only reason I've discovered. 


3 comments:

Melissa (Avid Reader) said...

I have no idea if this was ever a banned book, but I adored it when I was growing up. I should re-read it!

Barb said...

I don't understand why it would be banned, if it is. I loved the animated movie of it, and we have the book in the house! And I haven't read it yet!

MJ said...

And I've found an account as to why it was banned!
Supposedly, a librarian thought it was "poor fantasy." Harumph!