Thursday, October 27, 2011

Two Icons: A Celebration and a Loss

Norton Juster's The Phantom Tollbooth with illustrations by Jules Feiffer, turns 50 this year. I didn't read it until I was an adult, although it was published the year I turned five. It's a tour de force filled with wit and whimsy, riddled with wordplay, light and airy yet deeply satisfying. Monica Edinger interviews Leonard Marcus on the publication of the 50th anniversary edition. On the NPR site, Norton Juster writes about "My Accidental Masterpiece."

An equally iconic picture book is The Shrinking of Treehorn. Its deadpan quirkiness and undeterred little character carry the day. The trilogy edition with its two sequels, Treehorn's Treasure and Treehorn's Wish, is a cheerful, chubby affair, complete with Edward Gorey's surreal illustrations. On Monday morning, or perhaps on Sunday night, Florence Parry Heide died at the age of 92. In the Treehorn books and her many others, she leaves joy behind in the world. Hear her voice spring to life in this interview on Curious Pages, the idiosyncratic blog that recommends "inappropriate books for kids."

Hurray for The Phantom Tollbooth and hurray, hurray for Florence Parry Heide.

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