Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Operation Yes meets Blue Chicken at Phantom Tollbooth

Every word of that title is accurate. 

While in New York over Veterans Day weekend, I met my friend Debbie Freedman, author of the amazing picture book, Blue Chicken, at Books of Wonder just before their event celebrating the 50 year anniversary of The Phantom Tollbooth. If you haven't checked out Debbie's interview at 7-Impossible Things Before Breakfast, run there, chicken-fast.  You must see the vivid, emotionally true, totally fun art from this book that celebrates color and redeeming mistakes. (The two-page spread which reads simply "The chicken is sorry! Sincerely sorry." is my favorite moment in the flood of disaster that overtakes the chicken----but Jules shares many other fabulous ones.)  

Debbie and I signed each other's books, ate scones and drank tea with fellow author Rosanne Parry, and my lovely agent, Tina Wexler. Then Debbie was kind enough to get my copy of The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth signed for me while I dashed off to my Military Families panel at the NYPL (more on that later.)  

I took a few photos of the Phantom Tollbooth event, but the lighting was difficult, and the store was packed, so I failed to deliver much beyond the fuzzy shot below. I also had to strain to hear both Jules Feiffer and Norton Juster (who were occasionally prompted for stories by Leonard Marcus, there on the right.)  What made the event for me were the little moments---such as Norton Juster admitting to growing up with a dad who adored puns (me, too!) and the kid with the green mohawk who peppered Jules and Norton with enthusiastic questions. I can't wait to dive into my annotated version, which is, I think, the third copy of The Phantom Tollbooth I have in the house. (Can't be sure; there may be a fourth lurking around.)

I have so much more to report from my trip to New York.  It was, from start to finish, a perfect weekend, but I think my posts will have to be delivered in short bursts.  As the chicken says, I'm sincerely sorry. Will catch up soon. Very soon!


  1. Books of Wonder is one of my favorite places in this world--wish I could have been there!

  2. It was a great event, wasn't it? And so wonderful to see you!


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