1 November 2011

Review 45: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

"One genuine Turnpike Tollbooth. If not pefectly satisfied, your wasted time will be refunded. When Milo receives a mysterious an intriguing package through the post, all his previous feelings of boredom are banished. Having nothing better to do, he points his pedal car towards the strange land beyond the Tollbooth, and quicker than a flash he's entered the Kingdom of Wisdom, where everything is unexpected..."

I read this when I was really young and really enjoyed remembering how awesome this book is. It's a wonderful book for children but possibly even better for adult who can appreciate more of the wordplay and probably find the sentimets even more touching.

Milo is a boy who is bored by everything. "Wherever he was he wished he was somewhere else, and when he got there he wondered why he'd bothered." I'm sure everyone can relate to this sentiment which is what makes it such a wonderful opening to the book and is also somewhat reminiscent of Max from Where the Wild Things Are - boys escaping what they see to be un unsatisfactory reality for an adventure that teaches them the worth and potential of their everyday lives.

Milo's adventures in the Kingdom of Wisdom and many and varied. My personal favourite is probably Chroma who conducts colour in the kingdom and Milo sees conduct the sunset before having a misguided attempt to conduct the sunrise himself before Chroma wake up; "He tried ver hard to do everything just the way Chroma had done, but nothing worked. In just a few minutes a whole week had gone by. To this day no one knows of the lost week but the few people who happened to be awake at 5.23 on that very strange morning." Milo meets lots of bizarre characters along the way including the Mathemagician who serves Milo subtraction stew that leaves him hungrier than when he started and Faintly Macabre, the not-so-wicked Which who chooses which words are used. Milo also meets Tock, the watchdog who stops people from wasting or killing time who accompanies on his journey to rescue the princesses Rhyme and Reason from the Castle in the Air in the Mountains of Ignorance.

Every character and place is cleverly named and the book provided consistent little moments of pleasant realisation as the clever little wordplay elements dawn on you. The book is such a pleasure to read from the writing to the characters to the basic message of the book; the impossible is possible and there is beauty and adventure all around us.

1 comment:

  1. this book was BEAST!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!