The Phantom Tollbooth Paperback – Oct 12 1988
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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
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Top Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.Read more ›
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
Most recent customer reviews
This is a wonderful book I can't wait to share with my grandchildren. Inspires one to take a greater interest in our languagePublished 10 months ago by Tim Crawshaw
This is a classic, and as much fun now as ever. Imaginative and fun.Published 15 months ago by Cynthia Comacchio
Great book for 9-12 year olds .like a long story, with lots of imagination.Published 23 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 on May 16 2014 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 on April 29 2014 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
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