Norton Passes Go

A poem by Jane Yolen in remembrance of her friend Norton Juster (1929-2021):

So, the unexpected,
which he always expected,
happened when he had lost
the ability to expect anything at all.
At the same time he became a phantom,
he became a father to us all.
If there is justice in the world,
it comes with laughter,
and no tolls.


Others will miss your stories.
I will miss your smiles,
so full of compassion
and self-knowledge,
I knew you were
the vector of the universe.
We just hadn’t all
appreciated that until you left
on your last road trip,
hand in hand with Milo.
who looks a lot like you now,
all grown up, when no one was watching.

–Jane Yolen

Jane Yolen receives the 2009 Norton Juster Award for Devotion to Literacy, presented by its namesake. Photo: Seth Kaye Photography.


Jane Yolen just published Bear Outside, her four hundredth book

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Dana Duffy

While I loved the Phantom Tollbooth, it was The Dot and the Line that profoundly affected me as a child. I wish more people knew about this perfect little book. I was first introduced to it through the 1960s Chuck Jones animated version. It made math concepts deep, entertaining and clever. Please treat yourself to this little masterpiece if you are unfamiliar with it.

Posted : Mar 28, 2021 03:24

Stephanie Calmenson

Just the other day, I came across my copy of The Dot and The Line and note that Jane's lovely poem includes, "I knew you were the vector of the universe." and Norton's witty, wonderful book ends with, "To the vector belong the spoils."

Posted : Mar 28, 2021 03:24


Carol Levin

Thank you for this beautiful tribute Jane Yolen. The Phantom Tollbooth was one of my favorite books and I so enjoyed passing on its clever humor and wry wordplay and wisdom to both my children and the children at the library where I worked for a quarter century. I think any child lucky enough to accompany Milo and Tock on their adventures carries something special throughout their lives. RIP Norton Juster.

Posted : Mar 12, 2021 04:35


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