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The Phantom Tollbooth Paperback – Jul 1974


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Paperback, Jul 1974
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Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Collins Lions (July 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0006707998
  • ISBN-13: 978-0006707998
  • Product Dimensions: 17.5 x 10.7 x 1.5 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (103 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,382,074 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Amazon Review

"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.

Review

‘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

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

59 of 60 people found the following review helpful By A. Craig HALL OF FAME on 10 Feb. 2003
Format: Paperback
Firstly, please don't be put off by the hideous cover Collins has plonked on this wonderful book. Inside, you'll find the original drawings by Jules Feiffer, which as as elegant and intelligent as the contents.
No bright child of 7+ could fail to be captivated by this tale. Milo is a bored boy who finds an unexpected present waiting for him on his return from school. It's a tollbooth (it doesn't matter if you don't know what this is). He assembles it, gets into his toy car and the moment he drives past the tollbooth finds himself in a magical land. Once ruled by two brothers, King Azaz the Unabridged (or words) and the Mathemagician, it is falling to rack and ruin because of the exile of the Princesses Rhyme and Reason. But danger lurks at every turn - not least that of Milo failing to notice what's going on. He immediately finds himself driving through the Doldrums, and only Tock the heroic Watchdog can rescue him by waking him up and forcing him to concentrate. His adventures include jumping to Conclusions (an island that looks lovely from afar but it a bleak overcrowded desert on arrival), orchestrating Chroma's colourful orchestra, breaking the Soundkeeper's fortress and learning about infinity - even before he ventures into the demon infested mountains to find the stair to the Castle in the Air.
Packed with splendid jokes, puns and brain-teasers, what is so special about the book is that it encourages children to think about a huge variety of subjects without ever hectoring them. Why is it important to notice details of daily life? Why does it matter that you choose good sounds rather than the ones adored by Dr. Kakphonous A. Dischord and his Dreadful Dynne? Why should you grow up rather than down? What do figures of speech mean, when taken literally?
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By B.Taylor on 15 Sept. 2005
Format: Paperback
I first read this book when I was around 11yrs old and I still read it periodically at 34yrs of age! This is a wonderful book with a magical story written with warmth and humour. Suitable for reading ages 8+ this book is full of little moral messages that are very well woven into the tale. Excellent.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By ThomasY6 on 2 Oct. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
One genuine turnpike tollbooth delivered to your doorway! This book will boost any child's confidence in reading. I am a 10 year old child and enjoyed this book. I read it cover to cover in rain or shine.

I reckon that any child from the age 5+ can enjoy this book ether spelled by the 'Spelling Bee' or feared by 'The Humbug' it can all be taken in. whether you are stuck in 'The Doldrums or as chatty as 'The Weather Man' you can't stop reading it! It is a good book written for children, but can be enjoyed by adults as well. so, are you going to 'Jump to Conclusions, or read this amazing book by Norton Juster?
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on 5 Mar. 2010
Format: Paperback
The Phantom Tollbooth was written by Norton Juster in 1961. He worked for several years as an architect in Brooklyn, New York, before becoming an author. He also wrote other books such as `The Dot and the Line' and `Alberic the Wise and Other Jouneys.'
In 1971 Norton Juster was the recipient of the George G. Stone Centre for Children's Books Seventh Recognition of Merit.

Milo, the main character, is a bored little boy who one day, when returning home from a dull day of school, finds in his room a tollbooth. When he went through the tollbooth he appeared in The Lands of Beyond. He travels through many areas of the land, meeting many unusual characters, including a watchdog called Tock, who has a clock in his body.

We think that the book is brilliant because the lands that Milo travels to are interesting and full of unusual, imaginative characters. The book also has many different powerful words and many different educational messages. All of the characters are interesting and have unique qualities which fit their personalities.

We would recommend this book to children aged eight and above. If you are bored we recommend you read this book because it feels like you are actually in the land. This book is also educational as it will help you with your literacy work and help you to learn why knowledge is important.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Sept. 1999
Format: Paperback
Written with tongue firmly in cheek, this is as much a book to be read aloud, as it is to be read. Juster doesn't just use the English language, but he plays and dances with it, turning common phrases inside-out, and around, but never in a meaningless way.
The story is about Milo, who doesn't know what to do, and his journeys through the Land of Wisdom. To go into detail about the story, is to ruin much of the surprise, but suffice to say, he has grand adventures, defeats dangerous enemies, and generally does everything you come to expect in an adventure meant for children.
If you enjoy reading, you will enjoy this book.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 5 Aug. 2002
Format: Paperback
This was a book I read over and over again as a child. I bought a copy for my eight year old, and he loves it just as much! We have both found the plot unique and enthraling, and it has obviously become recognised as a classic text since I read it originally twenty something years ago, as there is now a teachers guide and it is recommended reading for the National Curriculum. How on earth did the author come up with those characters? I now get the in jokes that I missed back then!
Every child should read this, it's just as captivating as any Harry Potter novel!
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