(THE PHANTOM TOLLBOOTH BY Juster, Norton(Author))The Phantom Tollbooth[Hardcover]Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers(Publisher) Unknown Binding – 12 Aug 1961
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Top Customer Reviews
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?Read more ›
Milo and his various friends and enemies encountered along the way serve to illustrate many of the foibles and quirks of adult life. The Phantom Tollbooth serves as a gateway to a place that embodies the physical manifestations of metaphors.
For instance, in Dictionopolis (a city of words) Milo is invited to a banquet at which one must eat one's words. Just as in our world, sometimes those words can be sour and very hard to swallow.
Also, while you can jump to the Isle of Conclusions, you must reach the mainland again only by swimming through the sea of knowledge. And the water is cold. It is not easy to recover from having jumped to conclusions.
The interplay between concepts, the tension between words and numbers, the divisions and alliances that are made, the enemies who seem to be friends, all of these serve to make a delightful play which will interest children and adults.
Milo, of course, makes it home safely after a fascinating journey, and while he would like to take another trip, the phantom tollbooth is needed elsewhere for other children, too. However, Milo realises that he has his own tollbooth in his imagination, and thus the adventure need never end.
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.
Oh, dear! I tried so hard to like this. A lot of it is quite imaginative - the conductor who plays the colours of the day, the numbers' mine, some of the wordplay. But most of the 'quirky' characters are thinly-disguised teachers, banging home their unsubtle message that we must all learn how to read and count, and pay attention at school etc etc. At first, I assumed my negative reaction was because I was just too old for it (and I'm sure that is a large part of the reason). But then I remembered my childhood reaction to the dreaded The Water Babies, with its hideous pair of monstrous horrors, Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby and Mrs Bedonebyasyoudid - a book I thoroughly hated and despised when I was young for its preachy and patronising tone (while I'm pretty sure I missed most of the satirical elements of it). Although The Phantom Tollbooth is undoubtedly more fun, I realised it follows the same pattern of unsubtle moralising and lesson-teaching all the way through.
And the preachiness meant that the linguistic inaccuracies and grammatical errors bothered me considerably more than they would have if the book had merely been setting out to entertain.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
My favourite children's book - it's very clever and the characters are excellent.Published 7 days ago by miss sm altman
This is a really funny, cleverly written book. It's excellent for visual learners as well because there's lots of description, but there are also lots of puns, so it's unsuitable... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Sara
brilliant book, just as applicable now as it was when first written.Published 3 months ago by satisfied
I loved this book so much as a child. To find it still in print I am so happy I could cry! I haven't read it since I was in primary school but I can still remember trying (for... Read morePublished 4 months ago by Gemma