The Phantom Tollbooth

Book Review: The Phantom Tollbooth

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The Phantom Tollbooth 

by Norton Juster


Ages 12 & up, 272 pages

Milo is a bored boy who believes everything is a waste of time and there’s nothing to do until he finds a package with a note that states: “For Milo, who has plenty of time”. He jumps in the car and travels through the tollbooth to begin an eventful journey. He meets a watchdog, Tock, who travels with him to Dictionopolis, the city of words, near the Sea of Knowledge where letters are sold and people eat their words. Milo meets the Sound Keeper who files away all sounds in the Valley of Sound. Milo learns that Princess Rhyme and Princess Reason were banned from Wisdom. He journeys to Digitopolis where numbers are mined and jewels are meaningless. Milo’s on a quest to save the Princesses and bring peace between King Azaz, the unabridged ruler of Dictionopolis, and Mathemagician, ruler of Digitopolis. During Milo’s adventures, he learns that life isn’t dull and is full of possibilities. I thought this was a wonderful book that has hints of Alice in Wonderland. The Phantom Tollbooth is a unique fantasy book that has humor, but also makes the reader think that time is valuable and life is full of wonders.

So many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.
― Norton Juster (The Phantom Tollbooth)