The Story’s The Thing: The Phantom Tollbooth
Have you ever had that book that you just absolutely love, and it becomes a part of you without you even realizing it? In my quest to show you lots of different kinds of books, let me take you down a road and through a Phantom Tollbooth to the land of Wisdom.This book is The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Milo, the main character of the novel, hates the world. He’s bored by life, he’s bored by school, and he’s bored by being bored. One day when he comes home from school, he finds a box in his living room. Inside the box is a tollbooth which drives through in a toy car. On the other side he finds himself in a fantastical world, called, the Kingdom of Wisdom.
The Kingdom is in disarray because the two leaders, King Azaz of Dictionopolis (the kingdom of letters!) and the Mathemagician of Digitopolis (the kingdom of numbers!) have banished the princesses Rhyme and Reason to the Castle in the Air. Whew. That’s a lot of puns. Basically, the two kings never agree on anything at all. Anyway, back to Milo, he decides that he’s going to drive around the kingdom, meeting some very interesting people and creatures in the process.
Honestly, the entire book is just too good to truly explain. From Tock, the watchdog who always goes ticktickticktick, to the Dodecahedron (My sides are many, my angles are not few, I’m the dodecahedron and who are you?), there are some extremely colourful characters that Milo comes across in his journey. His trip takes him to places such as Expectations (some people never make it past there) and Conclusions (you can only get there by jumping!).
What Milo finds at the end of his journey, and how he gets there, well, that’s for you to find out. Phantom Tollbooth is actually a fairly quick read, but one that I’ve always loved. I read it for the first time when I was very young, probably about ten or so, and each time I’ve read it as I’ve grown older, I find that it just gets funnier and funnier, because I actually understand more of the jokes as my life experience has grown. A movie was made of it in the 70s, I believe, and while it doesn’t cover all of the hilarious bits of the book, it’s pretty awesome (and the guy who directed the animated part of the movie worked on Bugs Bunny!)
So, do try out Phantom Tollbooth. In the words of the Tollbooth itself:
Results are not guaranteed, but if you are not satisfied, your wasted time will be refunded. ~The Phantom Tollbooth