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The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth (1961)

by Norton Juster (Author)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 252 (next | show all)
I had a really hard time every putting this book down! The plot was so incredibly punny and clever, and it reminded me of The Wizard of Oz and Alice in Wonderland, with an intellectual twist. I thought it was incredibly captivating, mostly due to the amazing setting and cast of characters. I love Juster's colloquial writing style, which really made me feel like he was talking to me personally at some points, and Feiffer's illustrations scattered throughout helped me to piece together the characters and have an image that matched the storyline. The map was also incredibly useful while reading. I think that this book could teach young people a lot about time and knowledge, and how important these things are. Highly recommended! ( )
  L_Cochran | Mar 15, 2014 |
Read this in grade school and watched the cartoon, has been one of my favorites that I recommend to young readers! It's witty in a punny sort of way which I found hilarious, but also made me feel really smart that I got the double meanings and such. Sneaky learning! ( )
  jspringbrinkley | Mar 15, 2014 |
I can understand why this book is such a classic. I appreciated this book for its amazing wordplay, though the story itself did not immediately engage me the way that more modern fantasies have. I think that because the adventure started before we really had a chance to get to know Milo affected me. I felt I was off on the roller coaster of adventure before I really had a chance to appreciate much of Milo's life apart from his boredom. The wordplay is extremely clever, and I wonder if it would be lost on many kids. I hope not, but I think it could be quite challenging for English Language Learners or students who struggle with reading. For those who enjoy vocabulary, wordplay, and wit, this is still a great choice. I can certainly imagine a mapping project or other "catalog-ing" of Milo's adventures where we could talk about the characters, the lessons they teach, vocabulary, and irony. The ills that are being satirized by Juster are just as relevant, if not more so, today. In a world where children are constantly entertained, the message is a valuable one, and I hope children will still take the time to absorb it.
  susan.mccourt | Mar 14, 2014 |
This is a phenomenal story about a young boy, Milo, who discovers there is so much to explore and learn in life. This book may have been published back in 1961, but anyone who reads it will immediately understand why it became such a classic. In today's world, youngsters become quickly "bored" if entertainment is not provided. Young (and old) readers will be reminded about the value of education and the importance of common sense. This book reminds me of "Roald Dahl's "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory." Both stories have a protagonist who goes on a fantastical adventure. Both Charlie and Milo travel to a "Secret" place, learn about who they are and what they want to be, and, as a result, discover how to fully appreciate the world and all it has to offer. ( )
  laona | Mar 12, 2014 |
I never would have imagined double entendres to be so entertaining. For me, what makes this book more than worthwhile, besides it being a delightful story, is its mildly disguised academic nature. That, and it reminds me of another childhood classic and personal favorite, Alice and Wonderland. The Phantom Tollbooth really makes you think about and look at the world differently. I have the utmost respect for Norton Juster, because it would have taken me an eternity to come up with an idea as brilliant as this and twice as long to write it with such attention to detail. I love the lesson that Milo learns about the importance of our thoughts and the moments we are in them, as well as the benefit of appreciating the places that we are, even when it's a classroom. I think many students can relate to Milo, and if not in the very beginning, certainly by the end.
  biarias | Mar 10, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 252 (next | show all)

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Juster, NortonAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Feiffer, JulesIllustratormain authorsome 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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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.
Haiku summary

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 Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:59:09 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

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

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