"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) -- Amazon.com
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
‘Think Alice in Wonderland for the modern age. Brilliant’. The Guardian
‘The most unpredictable, the most stimulating children’s book I have read for a very long time. Words, numbers, clichés, proverbs are taken literally, imaginatively or punningly in an enthralling and very funny dazzle of mental fireworks.’ The Sunday Times
‘An altogether remarkable book, one that should delight any bright child, and that will be no burden for a parent to read aloud. Related with unflagging wit and a marvellous sense of the fun to be had with words, this book will be enjoyed by children for years to come.’ Spectator