A Phantom Tollbooth Tribute

Sunday Letter | #333

Seed tray under clear plastic lid, micro-beads of condensation, gold-sharpied labels with dates.
Seeds started – North La Salle, Detroit, MI

A quick one this week, as I’ve spent most of this beautiful spring day outside. We took Matisse to a new dog park, stopped for an impromptu patio beer, and when we got back, topped off our garden beds with compost as we ready to plant our spring crops. I also scraped several layers of paint off of our front-entrance metal house numbers (a long-overdue task), then decided to just to pry the numbers off instead of re-painting around them, then got sucked into a research vortex wondering whether or not to replace them altogether.

(The market for house numbers is sorely lacking in era- and style-appropriate typefaces, by the way. If I had infinite time and a laser cutter, I would start a small online store, complete with a visualization tool so you could see how your particular sequence of numbers looked horizontally or vertically.)

Anyway. In lieu of writing more tonight, here is something I wrote earlier in the week. My podcast co-hosts and I are doing a mini-“takeover” of the blog Imagination Soup, and my post was a tribute to Norton Juster and The Phantom Tollbooth:

To read Tollbooth is to see that a children’s book can, too, be a book of ideas – about architecture, work, the habits of mind, the pitfalls of compromise, and other “grown-up” stuff. And that while being all of these things, it can also be fun. That it first and foremost, has to be at least a little fun. To read Tollbooth is to read an author who has an immense respect for the intelligence of children, who gets that kids can sniff out when they’re being taught with too heavy a hand.

Very much on theme for this year, if I do say so myself.