50 years later, an "odious ogre" is created
By Morgan on September 8th, 2010
The Phantom Tollbooth is one of those picture books that makes people stop and sigh and even swoon a little at their memories of it…which is why a new picture book that was released last week has caused a bit of a celebration in the book world!
Fifty years ago, author Norton Juster and illustrator Jules Feiffer collaborated on a picture book that would capture the hearts of kids (and adults!) for decades to come. The two met by chance – taking out the garbage, believe it or not – and The Phantom Tollbooth itself was a bit of an accidental creation, as I learned from this fantastic Publishers Weekly piece that ran earlier this year. (And the rest, as they say, “is kid-lit history.”) So when news broke that Juster and Feiffer would be collaborating again, for the first time since The Phantom Tollbooth, it was a Big Deal.
The Odious Ogre, published by Michael di Capua Books, hit stores last week and is about, as Feiffer tells NPR, “the biggest, meanest, filthiest ogre in the history of ogreship.” It’s the story of a rotten ogre that terrorizes the countryside and surrounding towns – until he takes a wrong turn, where he finds a friendly young lady who actually wants to help him. NPR called it “a lot of fun” when they interviewed Juster and Feiffer last weekend – an interview that you can listen to, and read, here. And in another new interview with BookPage, the two joke that perhaps they’ll collaborate again — in another 50 years!
What I particularly like about The Odious Ogre and The Phantom Tollbooth is that the works exemplify the best kind of partnership. Feiffer says the specifics of Juster’s tales inspired his watercolor-and-marker illustrations, while Juster says Feiffer’s pictures can express the story in a way words cannot. They collaborate in the truest sense of the word.
What do you all think about the re-pairing of Juster and Feiffer? Leave us a comment with your thoughts!
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