The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (1961)
Juvenile Fiction | Fantasy
“Hailed as ‘a classic. . . . humorous, full of warmth and real invention’ (The New Yorker), this beloved story–first published more than fifty ago–introduces readers to Milo and his adventures in the Lands Beyond.
For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams. . . . ” -Goodreads
pooled ink Review:
There was once a boy named Milo who didn’t know what to do with himself – not just sometimes, but always.
And so it begins…
My main impression: Norton Juster is quite the player of words.
Albeit a children’s book I found this to be quite a fun read anyhow. It is practically an elementary school education rolled up into one whimsical adventure!
Such an incredibly fun, imaginative, and informative book! Under the guise of a fantastic children’s story one learns a vast assortment of things from spelling, to vocabulary, to grammar, to numbers, to geometry, to points of view, to bravery, to the importance of not jumping to conclusions or wasting time or forgetting to listen. While the plot bounces along merrily with Milo and Tock journeying across the realm I can’t help but smile at Juster’s brilliance and wit! When one understands the lessons being sneakily taught one will find their self laughing and laughing at the remarkable use of puns, homophones, synonyms, riddles, and the like.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. It was quite a remarkable and rather quick read indeed but it was so much fun! Kids of varying ages will grasp varying degrees of all that this book has to offer and what they don’t know they will learn. Even as an adult who knows quite a lot about words and numbers I still found myself grinning from ear to ear.
And it is so relatable! How many times have kids asked their parents, their teachers, and their friends why they must learn [insert subject here] or why they must go to school at all? Well Milo himself finds that he is struggling with these same questions and trudging along with a similar loss at life. But one day a magical tollbooth arrives at his home and thus he is sent on a grand adventure where he learns an immeasurable amount of valuable lessons, either literal or philosophical but altogether quite practical.
The Phantom Tollbooth is an exquisite classic amongst a plethora of children’s literature. Educational, whimsical, and oozing with clever creativity this book is a must for every child.
Purchase here: The Phantom Tollbooth
Meet Norton Juster!
Norton Juster is an architect and planner, professor emeritus of design at Hampshire College, and the author of a number of highly acclaimed children’s books, including The Dot and the Line, which was made into an Academy Award-winning animated film. He has collaborated with Sheldon Harnick on the libretto for an opera based on The Phantom Tollbooth. The musical adaptation, with a score by Arnold Black, premiered in 1995. An amateur cook and professional eater, Mr. Juster lives with his wife in Amherst, Massachusetts.