Sunday, May 17, 2020

The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth (1961) by Norton Juster

Milo is the classic bored boy. He doesn't like school--he thinks learning all those boring things is just a waste of time. He doesn't like being at home--he's tired of all those toys he has. He doesn't like going back and forth between the two--there's nothing to see or do along the way. And nothing new or exciting ever happened. But one day when he gets home from school he finds a surprise package in his room.

Of course, if you've ever gotten a surprise package, you can imagine how puzzled and excited Milo was; and if you've never gotten one, pay close attention, because someday you might.

It's a much larger package than he's ever gotten before and when he opens it, he finds a tollbooth inside. And when he has it assembled and climbs into his mechanical toy car and goes through the gate he finds himself in a magical world. It's a world that teaches him the meaning of the doldrums and what happens when you're not thinking and how to get out of a conclusion you've jumped into. It teaches him that learning things can be fun and interesting...and maybe even lead to an adventure or two. He also learns that everything from words to numbers from sound to silence has a place and life is better when it is all in balance.

It was fun to revisit this children's classic--one that I hadn't read since elementary school. I enjoyed the wordplay and puns as well as watching Milo learn and grow and work together with his two companions, Tock--the watch-dog--and the Humbug, to defeat the monsters of ignorance. ★★★★


1 comment:

Carol said...

I read this with Amber when she was little. I remember it being a lot of fun.