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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ABC, 123, do-ray-me....
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...
Published on May 6 2004 by E. R. Bird

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars World of amazing play on words, adventure and fun
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...
Published 22 months ago by Allison Allain


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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars ABC, 123, do-ray-me...., May 6 2004
By 
E. R. Bird "Ramseelbird" (Manhattan, NY) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Phantom Tollbooth (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. In fact, all that I could remember about this book (years after reading it and moments before rereading it) was that the debate was the question of which was more important; words or numbers? Being an English major I'd probably throw my cap in with the former, but, as the princesses Rhyme and Reason make clear, the two are of equal value. The book's plot is not a particularly new one. Anybody familiar with any basic quest story, be it "Alice In Wonderland" (to which this has many similarities), "The Wonderful Wizard of Oz" or even "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" will recognize this book's form. What sets it apart from the rest is not only the world in which Milo finds himself abroad, but the character of Milo himself. Here is a boy with a serious deficiency. He is Maurice Sendak's "Pierre" and he simply does not care. By meeting the residents of a world of everything from words and numbers to colors and sounds, Milo comes to understand that the more one learns, the farther one can travel.
Filled with sly puns and clever ideas the book is a real delight. The king of Dictionopolis is named Azaz. There is a boy who is only .58 of a person and who patiently explains that in his land every family has 2.58 children. He is simply that .58. Things like that. A lot of this books sails swimmingly over the heads of children, while a couple other moments sail swimmingly over the heads of most adults. It's worth it to pay attention to Juster's writing too. Though prone to silliness, the author is equally comfortable spouting text like, "Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn?...Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven't the answer to a question you've been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause in a roomful of people when someone is just about to speak, or most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you're all alone in the whole house?" I love passages like this. Juster is the rare author that can make you laugh and then pause for thought within a scant two or three sentences.
As I said at the beginning, in spite of all the good reviews this book has received, I still feel that, "The Phantom Toolbooth" is unappreciated in this day and age. Where's its movie? Its official fan club? Its annotated editions? Alas, I feel we'll have to wait until the novel receives the acclaim of which it is utterly and entirely deserving. Until it does, let's just sit back in a comfy chair and glow in the inviting warmth of a book that finally gives full attention to the inner lives of sounds, vowels, and computations.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book, Feb. 5 2013
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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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4.0 out of 5 stars Good solid entertaining story, Jan. 7 2013
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This review is from: The Phantom Tollbooth (Paperback)
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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3.0 out of 5 stars World of amazing play on words, adventure and fun, June 22 2012
By 
Allison Allain (Edmonton, Alberta) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Phantom Tollbooth (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. I think this would be a great story to read with children and see what they take away from it. They will love the adventure and the lessons as well.

What he drove: a small electric automobile
Where he went: from the Doldrums to Dictionopolis, the isle of confusion to Digitopolis
What they listened to: the sound of Tock the ticking watchdog

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5.0 out of 5 stars I love Tock!!!, Jan. 12 2012
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This review is from: The Phantom Tollbooth (Paperback)
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
3.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy Fun, Jan. 17 2003
This review is from: The Phantom Tollbooth (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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5.0 out of 5 stars LISTEN, LAUGH, AND LEARN, Dec 9 2008
By 
Gail Cooke (TX, USA) - See all my reviews
(TOP 50 REVIEWER)    (REAL NAME)   
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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5.0 out of 5 stars The best book ever, Feb. 27 2007
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This review is from: The Phantom Tollbooth (Paperback)
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. It is called the Dot and the Line. Another reason why I like the book is the vocabulary is not too hard. This book is also good for you if you have a big imagination. If you're very young and you're reading this book it is not scary. When I was bored I took out the book and started reading it. I would recommend this book to you.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic Children's Novel, July 3 2006
This review is from: The Phantom Tollbooth (Paperback)
This book after over 30 years, is still a very popular novel. I first discovered it in Grade 6, which was 2004. I loved this book, i read it so many times from my school library, at elast five. Usually, I do not read books again, after I already read tehm. But that was not the case with this one. Whenever I went into the library, the school's or public, I would always find myself going towards this novel, because of the great writing, and the humour, and the inspirational moments..and everything in between these covers. I love this book, adn it is loved by many children, including me. Even as i grow, but I'm still young in grade 8, I will always love this book, jsut becasue it is so great. I only wish Norton Juster, the author of this, would've written more novels, that I could enjoy, but until then.....you should definetly, definetly, read this book....
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5.0 out of 5 stars Classic wordplay!, June 22 2004
By 
Luis M. Luque "luquel" (Crofton, Maryland, USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Phantom Tollbooth (Paperback)
This book is fun for all ages, one of the handful of great children's books that will still be fun to read 50 years from now. It's like Dr. Seuss for older children. Buy it. You won't be disappointed.
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The Phantom Tollbooth
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (Paperback - Oct. 12 1988)
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