Since first published in 1961 Norton Juster's classic children's story has known many incarnations - hardcover reprints, paperback issues, audio cassette, stage play, and now an unabridged audio version read by the incomparable David Hyde Pierce.
Few of us did not watch the popular television show Frasier, and those of us who wouldn't miss an episode were soon fans of Pierce who played Dr. Niles Crane. He was funny, touching, affecting, and thoroughly enjoyable. The same may be said of this narration. His voice so easily becomes that of a small boy as well as the voices of the many characters met on a fantastic adventure. Listen as young Milo discovers a strange tollbooth in his bedroom. Then, since the rather bored youngster has nothing better to do he gets into his toy car and drives through the booth.
What does he find? An absolutely amazing place, Dictionopolis, chock full of words and inhabited by unusual characters from Tock, a watchdog, to Humbug, an insect.
As youngsters accompany Milo on this journey they will not only discover the meaning of words but much to ponder, such as "The way you see things depends a great deal on where you look at them from, " Or, they might consider this: "'I never knew words could be so confusing," Milo said to Tock as he bent down to scratch the dog's ear. 'Only when you use a lot to say a little,' answered Tock."
Children as well as adults will listen, learn, and have lots of fun with The Phantom Tollbooth as read by David Hyde Pierce.
- Gail Cooke