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The Phantom Tollbooth Paperback – Oct 12 1988


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 272 pages
  • Publisher: Yearling; 35th edition (Oct. 12 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0394820371
  • ISBN-13: 978-0394820378
  • Product Dimensions: 12.7 x 18.4 x 1.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 181 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (364 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #743 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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First Sentence
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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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 Verified Purchase
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 understand it. But I will give it to them for their bookshelf and someday they will enjoy it as much as I did. It was delightful.
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By Mark B on Feb. 5 2013
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a classic book, and the 50th anniversary edition looks great. Shipped exactly as I'd expected it to; worth every [nonexistant] penny!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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. Not too silly, but engaging enough to keep him reading.
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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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By Jong Uk on Jan. 12 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
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. Everything is so detailed and easily understood, and I really enjoyed reading it.

The Ghost Writer
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Shirley Burnside on Jan. 17 2003
Format: Paperback
This was purchased for my 11-year-old grandson, but I read about half of it before I gave it to him! It's a fantasy story, with some hidden lessons!
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By Gail Cooke TOP 50 REVIEWER on Dec 9 2008
Format: Audio CD
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
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