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The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth (1961)

by Norton Juster (Author), Jules Feiffer (Illustrator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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I never heard of this classic before someone mentioned it in his review of my Schroedinger’s Cheshire Cats. Having read it now, I am honored at the connection, although my story is by no means a children’s fantasy. As in Alice In Wonderland, Juster’s word-play is fantastic and may require rereading to catch all the subtleties. Any book that includes “the Dodecahedron” as a character is of interest to me. The scene with the Mathemagician in the chapter “This Way To Infinity” could easily be fit into a mathematics syllabus somewhere. This one is well worth the toll. ( )
  drardavis | Jul 7, 2015 |
There is nothing like being blown away by a great book, and this book did precisely that for me. There is also nothing quite as gratifying as being told repeatedly - by friends and various booklists - that something must be experienced, then finding that the experience is, in the words of George Costanza, everything that it should be, and more! It was like it was written for me: wordplay, mathematics, puns, life lessons, soaring imagination, creativity, and a whole bunch of other concepts with which I identify. Adding to the magic was that I had my hands on a 50th anniversary issue, which includes grand essays from notable writers containing passionate tales about the story affected them. What a thrilling experience. Now I've read it, and my daughter. I'll hand it off to my son, then my wife. It's clearly now mandatory reading in my household. ( )
  MartinBodek | Jun 11, 2015 |
What's not to love about a book illustrated by Jules Feiffer? Furthermore, I imagine that those few who are not charmed by Juster Norton's adventure tale about Milo and his Phantom Tollbooth to be Humbugs.

Yes, it holds up well on second readings over many, many years. And I'm sure that it will hold up well on subsequent readings. After all, Milo's journey from bored schoolboy to enlightened youth who now finds joy in all around him is not to be taking lightly. Don't we all wish we had a phantom tollbooth to take us on adventures which hinge on our critical thinking and rescuing two princesses who return joy to the kingdom? Well, maybe not everyone, but I do. ( )
2 vote AuntieClio | May 2, 2015 |
Anyone with a passion for words will enjoy reading The Phantom Tollbooth. Juster's humor throughout the story is at times subtle, at times downright silly, but often clever and thought-provoking, making this book an enjoyable read for young and old alike. ( )
  crunchymunchkin | Apr 22, 2015 |
One of my absolute favorite fables as a child - loved the stimulating word- & logic- play. Re-read it last year and still loved it. My now 14 yo read it twice, and he's not nearly as avid a reader as I.

Re-read it yet again for a book discussion group. Caught yet another play on words. ( )
  Cheryl_in_CC_NV | Apr 14, 2015 |
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» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Juster, NortonAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Feiffer, JulesIllustratormain authorall editionsconfirmed
Dietz, NormanNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sendak, MauriceIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To Andy and Kenny,
who waited so patiently
First words
There was once a boy named Milo who didn't know what to do with himself—not just sometimes, but always.
"You must never feel badly about making mistakes," explained Reason quietly," as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons."
Well, since you got here by not thinking, it seems reasonable to expect that, in order to get out, you must start thinking.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Please distinguish between this LT Work, Norton Juster's original The Phantom Tollbooth (1961), and the edition annotated by Leonard Marcus (2011). Thank you.
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English (3)

Book description
The Phantom Tollbooth tells the story of a bored young boy named Milo who unexpectedly receives a magic tollbooth one afternoon and, having nothing better to do, decides to drive through it in his toy car. The tollbooth transports him to a land called the Kingdom of Wisdom. There he acquires two faithful companions, has many adventures, and goes on a quest to rescue the princesses of the kingdom from the castle of air, Princess Rhyme and Princess Reason. The text is full of puns, and many events, such as Milo's jump to the Island of Conclusions, exemplify literal meanings of English language idioms.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0394820371, Paperback)

"It seems to me that almost everything is a waste of time," Milo laments. "[T]here's nothing for me to do, nowhere I'd care to go, and hardly anything worth seeing." This bored, bored young protagonist who can't see the point to anything is knocked out of his glum humdrum by the sudden and curious appearance of a tollbooth in his bedroom. Since Milo has absolutely nothing better to do, he dusts off his toy car, pays the toll, and drives through. What ensues is a journey of mythic proportions, during which Milo encounters countless odd characters who are anything but dull.

Norton Juster received (and continues to receive) enormous praise for this original, witty, and oftentimes hilarious novel, first published in 1961. In an introductory "Appreciation" written by Maurice Sendak for the 35th anniversary edition, he states, "The Phantom Tollbooth leaps, soars, and abounds in right notes all over the place, as any proper masterpiece must." Indeed.

As Milo heads toward Dictionopolis he meets with the Whether Man ("for after all it's more important to know whether there will be weather than what the weather will be"), passes through The Doldrums (populated by Lethargarians), and picks up a watchdog named Tock (who has a giant alarm clock for a body). The brilliant satire and double entendre intensifies in the Word Market, where after a brief scuffle with Officer Short Shrift, Milo and Tock set off toward the Mountains of Ignorance to rescue the twin Princesses, Rhyme and Reason. Anyone with an appreciation for language, irony, or Alice in Wonderland-style adventure will adore this book for years on end. (Ages 8 and up)

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:22:43 -0400)

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A journey through a land where Milo learns the importance of words and numbers provides a cure for his boredom.

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