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Comment: Moderate wear on cover and edges. Minimal highlighting and/or other markings can be present. May be ex-library copy and may not include CD, Accessories and/or Dust Cover. Good readable copy.
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The Phantom Tollbooth Hardcover – Aug 12 1961

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; Reissue edition (Aug. 12 1961)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394815009
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394815008
  • Product Dimensions: 16.4 x 2.4 x 23.5 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (366 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #101,181 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

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"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)


" I read [The Phantom Tollbooth] first when I was 10. I still have the book report I wrote, which began 'This is the best book ever.'"
--Anna Quindlen, The New York Times

"A classic... Humorous, full of warmth and real invention."
--The New Yorker

From the Trade Paperback edition.

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There was once a boy named Milo who didn't know what to do with himself-not just sometimes, but always. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on Aug. 16 2003
Format: Paperback
I remember when I first read this book about two years ago. After finishing the 4 Harry Potter books, I impatiently waited for the 5th. While waiting, I looked for a different book to read, but none of them could give me the satisfaction the HP books did. I read A Wrinkle in Time--to many weak characters and mushy ending. Then I read the Golden Compass--practically a highschool-level book; I couldn't understand many of the descriptions and vocabulary. I was just about to give up my interest in reading. Then I finally decieded to read the highly acclaimed Phantom Tollbooth. I was a bit reluctant to read it at first, it sounded so absurd and the title didn't get me too excited.
Well, I was wrong. I was amazed at how well-written and creative the book was! It was a world of language and math--two things I show a lack of interest in, yet the book showed the world of those two in such interesting, philosophical, and funny ways. I cracked up at so many parts. Not to mention the characters were so incredibly well-developed, and the hero was so likable. I was sad when I came to the ending of the book, but it really made me think and look at the world differently when I finished reading it.
This book is a true classic and is now one of my all-time favorite books. It'll have a special place in my heart.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Nicole Harpe on Sept. 30 2003
Format: Hardcover
My father read this book to me the first year it was published. I was nine and it has been on my bookshelf since. I can't tell you how many copies of this I have purchased for people.
This is a great book to encourage thinking, not simply memorizing. Each page contains new language, new ideas, new ways to play with learning. It also happens to be a wonderful story. I may have been too young at nine to read it on my own, but certainly it is a great read-aloud for children nine or a bit younger. At nine, I didn't understand all the fancies, but like the Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland, this book succeeds on many levels.
The Phantom Tollbooth encourages a child's love for language. It paints wonderful pictures (with the help of Feiffer's charming line drawings). It is as perfect a thing as can be written.
Oh, and if you're an adult without any children at home - buy the book for yourself. It will take you away from the Doldrums and into the Kingdom of Wisdom where your spirit can be renewed.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird on May 6 2004
Format: Paperback
Let me begin by saying how pleased I am to see so many reviews for this book. I had been under the impression (an impression I now see was thankfully false) that "The Phantom Tollbooth" had fallen into relative obscurity in the last 20 years or so. I'm basing this impression on the fact that you just don't hear anybody mention it anymore. Not librarians or booksellers or teachers or anybody. You don't read current criticism of the book. There aren't huge theses based on its plot or reasonings. And yet... It is a great story with great writing, a lovely (if sometimes overdone) plot, and a merry cast of characters. Accompanied by the delicate illustrations of one Jules Feiffer, the book deserves to be remembered for all time. Hopefully, it will be.
We follow the adventures of Milo in this story. Milo is ennui incarnate. Nothing interests the boy and he has a very difficult time seeing the point in anything at all. One day Milo walks into his room with the plan of finding disinterest there and finds instead that he has been given a large present. It is, according to an accompanying note, one genuine turnpike toolbooth. After assembling the creation, Milo decides to play with it for a little while. He hops into his electric car (possibly the number one toy most desired by children reading this tale), plops some money into the toolbooth, and finds himself in a completely different, and oddly unnamed, new land. It is there that Milo meets and befriends a variety of different creatures and beings. Ultimately, the boy is sent on a journey to locate the princesses Rhyme and Reason from their imprisonment in the sky.
But the brunt of the book, and the parts that most people remember, are the warlike words between the king of Dictionopolis and the Wizard of Digitopolis.
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Format: Paperback
The Phantom Tollbooth written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer was originally published January 1961. It tells the story of Milo a boy who finds everything boring. He wants whatever he can't have like the grass is always greener on the other side. One day he arrives home to find a mysterious phantom tollbooth was delivered to his bedroom. When he puts it together and drives his little car through he finds himself on a road trip through a mysterious land. He encounters many colorful characters along the way including a ticking watchdog called Tock, the mathemagician and the Whether man. He makes his way through the empires of dictionopolis and digitopolis on his way to find the missing princesses Rhyme and Reason.

Juster weaves a world of amazing puns and plays on idioms and famous English sayings. It was as if there was a lesson that each chapter could teach us. I think that they were hidden enough that kids reading this would understand, but would find the adventure so intriguing they don't realize that they are actually learning something valuable. It's easy to see that the author has a passion for wordplay

The adventure was fun; along the way I learned one shouldn't jump to conclusions, and to be careful of words because what you don't say is important as what you do. The main idea throughout the novel was this battle of knowledge vs ignorance. It was pressed that knowledge was good and ignorance is evil and I think that is a good lesson to learn at an early age.

The book was a very quick read and the pictures were adorable. It really brought the world to life. I liked the fact that the book includes a map of the world as well so I could really picture everything in my head.
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