CommanderStrikeher’s #CBR Review #47: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
“You’ll find that the only thing you can do easily is be wrong, and that’s hardly worth the effort.”
Milo is a young boy who is bored by everything in his life. One day, he comes home and finds a mysterious package. Inside is a miniature tollbooth and a map. He gets into his play car, drives through the tollbooth, and suddenly finds himself in the kingdom of Wisdom. He visits the city of Dictionopolis where words are of the utmost importance. Then he travels to the city of Digitopolis where numbers reign supreme. The two cities have been feuding over which is more important. Nothing has been right in Wisdom since the Princesses Rhyme and Reason were banished. Milo is sent on a hero’s quest to restore Rhyme and Reason.
I loved this book as a child, but I think I appreciate it more as an adult. I definitely get more of the puns and the metaphors. There is an island named Conclusions that you can only get to by jumping. The people in Dictionopolis literally eat their words.
I can’t tell you how many times I read this book as a child. The Phantom Tollbooth was originally published in 1961 and the story still stands up. It is truly timeless. It is difficult to review a book that is so widely revered. As I have said before, I suck at articulating why I like something. If I think something is terrible, I can tell you in excruciating detail why. It has taken me 2 months to write this review. If you have somehow managed to make it this far in your life, you still owe it to yourself to pick it up. Don’t dismiss it as “just for kids”. You would be doing the book and yourself a disservice.