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The Phantom Tollbooth: Beyond Expectations

The Phantom Tollbooth is one of the greatest children’s books ever published. And like the futile struggle between determining whether words or numbers are superior along Milo’s journey, it is impossible to choose between Norton Juster’s story and Jules Feiffer’s gorgeous illustrations as the best aspect of the book. The two men—described as “a couple of imaginary Jewish uncles”—were once roommates in Brooklyn Heights, where Juster would read his draft of Tollbooth aloud while making revisions, and Feiffer (who wasn’t originally the chosen illustrator) would sketch various characters. Beyond Expectations delves into the history of the novel and the enormous influence it has had on generations of children through today. The film features interviews with the author, illustrator, family members, as well as New Yorker staff writer Adam Gopnik, Phantom Tollbooth audiobook narrator and actor David Hyde Pierce, and a handful of actual children who encounter the beloved novel. The complete film is available to purchase and download now.