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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) --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
" 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
This is a classic, and as much fun now as ever. Imaginative and fun.Published 3 months ago by Cynthia Comacchio
Great book for 9-12 year olds .like a long story, with lots of imagination.Published 11 months ago by Booklover
Very inventive book; I am a senior and I enjoyed it. My only (personal) comment is that I purchased it, thinking of my grandchildren who are probably too young (ages 5 and 3) to... Read morePublished 14 months ago by bettiefraser
I have not actually read the book, it was a gift for a very special woman. The book was a childhood favourite of hers and it was one of the most well received gifts I have ever... Read morePublished 15 months ago by Dennis Woodcock
This is a classic book, and the 50th anniversary edition looks great. Shipped exactly as I'd expected it to; worth every [nonexistant] penny!Published on Feb. 5 2013 by Mark B
this one was a hit with my typical non-reader; I was lucky to find this book. It is a bit of a throw-back in the classic story-telling sense. My 11 year old son loved it. Read morePublished on Jan. 7 2013 by Suzanne
I really want to stress how lovely and fun it is to read. There are "scratchy" illustrations of the characters, including Tock. Three, Milo, Tock and the Humbug, go on a mission. Read morePublished on Jan. 12 2012 by Jong Uk
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... Read morePublished on Dec 9 2008 by Gail Cooke
I thought this book was excellent.There was a lot of action and surprising moments. I am going to get another book by Norton Juster because I liked The Phantom Tollbooth so much. Read morePublished on Feb. 26 2007 by Aaron Postelnik