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The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth (original 1961; edition 1988)

by Norton Juster, Jules Feiffer (Illustrator)

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9,434269310 (4.31)313
Title:The Phantom Tollbooth
Authors:Norton Juster
Other authors:Jules Feiffer (Illustrator)
Info:Bullseye Books (1988), Edition: First Edition, Paperback, 272 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (Author) (1961)


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Milo is a boy who does not spend time wisely. He is now traveling through a tollbooth. Milo is also with two of his new friends, Tock and the Humbug trying to find Ryme and Reason so he can get home ( )
  tesia.rose3 | Nov 12, 2014 |
The best. An absolute classic! ( )
  lisamunro | Oct 27, 2014 |

Milo is a bored little boy who discovers a tollbooth that he travels through and begins a great adventure. The author's use of wordplay and puns creates interesting characters and scenarios that have a double-meaning throughout Milo's journey. At the end of his journey, Milo believes that he has been gone a long time only to discover he has only been away for about an hour. The next morning, he learns the tollbooth has moved on to another child for them to have an adventure of their own.

Personal Reaction:

I love this book. I can read it over, and over, and over again. The author's ability to create and describe all the places and characters Milo encounters on his journey through the tollbooth was absolutely enchanting for me.

Extension Ideas:

1 - Students can pick a place from the book that Milo visited, and write a story about what would happen if they visited that same place. To further prompt the writing process, students would be encouraged to draw a picture of the place they chose to visit in the Kingdom of Wisdom (Digitopolis, The Mountains of Ignorance, the Castle in the Air, the Doldrums, Dictionoplis).

2 - Tying the story into a math lesson, students can create their own version of "Subtraction Stew" practicing subtraction skills by placing the correct subtraction equation and answer in the "stew pot." ( )
  MaryMK | Oct 20, 2014 |
One of the greatest. Should be on everyone's list. So clever. So warm. Funny. It is every young person who didn't know what to do with herself.
  MattPearson | Oct 20, 2014 |
I read this like a million years ago and asked my mum if she could get it for me for my very own - and it was out of print.

Years later, it occurred to me to check up on it - and now I have it :D will reread it at very soon.
  humblewomble | Oct 19, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 269 (next | show all)

» 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.
Publisher's editors
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Original language

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.
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.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 9 descriptions

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