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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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9,168257327 (4.32)307
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)

adventure (165) allegory (50) chapter book (85) children (228) children's (510) children's books (58) children's fiction (109) children's literature (230) classic (171) classics (65) fantasy (988) favorites (49) fiction (961) humor (156) illustrated (53) imagination (61) juvenile (93) juvenile fiction (68) kids (70) language (67) literature (48) mathematics (128) novel (78) own (60) paperback (38) read (171) to-read (75) wordplay (130) YA (114) young adult (170)

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» See also 307 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 257 (next | show all)
One of my favorite books from childhood, but I couldn't remember much about it. I decided it couldn't hurt to reread and see what all the fuss was about. And boy did I remember! What a lovely, inspiring book. Even as an adult it made me want to start exploring, creating, observing, playing more. ( )
  SweetbriarPoet | Jul 14, 2014 |
A journey through a land where Milo learns the importance of words and numbers provides a cure for his boredom. ( )
  paula-childrenslib | Jul 2, 2014 |
So cute!!!! Wordplay is amazing! ( )
  abigail33 | Jun 24, 2014 |
Love, love, LOVE this book! It is so clever and imaginative! If you love word play, you will love this book! As a teacher, I have to admit it would make an extremely laborious read-aloud as you would constantly have to stop and write the word you're reading on the board so the students would understand the clever use of homographs/phones. However, it would make an excellent novel study book for about the 5th grade level! It's fun, clever, teaches a lot about word use, and it starts out with a boy who is BORED, so many of my students would be able to relate right away. ( )
  mccooln | Jun 8, 2014 |
As far as I can remember, this was my first time reading The Phantom Tollbooth. Throughout every page, I thought it would be more enjoyable if I were reading it out loud to a child. I don’t have kids, and this didn’t provide any nostalgic thrill, so I undoubtedly didn’t like it as much as many other people do.

The story doesn’t make a ton of sense--there are big gaps in the plot that are largely ignored. The wordplay was more cute than clever, mostly puns. Again, kids would like this, but it falls pretty flat to an adult. There are a lot of characters who run quickly in and out of the story without having much effect. The characters generally only have one personality trait or aspect each, and even those are not consistent. The moral(s) are generally positive, although there are also a ton of them, and they are not regularly applied by the characters. It’s not like Milo began to appreciate learning and used that to save the princesses, for example.

Overall, this book is a collection of cute ideas that would likely appeal to children, especially if it’s being read to them in small segments. But without the nostalgia kick, it doesn’t hold appeal for adults. ( )
  JLSmither | May 25, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 257 (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.
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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.
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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 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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