Wednesday, January 18, 2012

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

I recently started reading this brilliant and beloved children's classic to my nine year old son. Like Alice in Wonderland, The Phantom Tollbooth takes place in a fanciful land where nothing makes sense and the journey is more important than the destination. The story follows a loose narrative --Milo, the main character, Tock his faithful 'watchdog,' and the Humbug are trying to save the Kingdom of Wisdom by rescuing the princesses Rhyme and Reason.  Along the way they met a host of unique and interesting creatures.  My nine year old loves the scenes of people floating above the ground, selling words on the street, eating their words, and mining for numbers.  Everyone Milo meets is not quite what they seem, but are exactly what they should be. The story can be a little confusing and the word play a bit advanced.  I enjoyed reading this one aloud so I could explain some of the play on words that my son didn't quite understand.  An enjoyable read with an older child.

This wonderful  article in the New Yorker celebrates 50th anniversary of The Phantom Tollbooth detailing how the story came about why this book continues to be a classic.

Did you read The Phantom Tollbooth as a kid?

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