Sunday, February 19, 2017

MMGM (2/20/2017): The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, with illustrations by Jules Feiffer

For MMGM, I am recommending The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, with illustrations by Jules Feiffer.




Here's the publisher's description:

Hailed as “a classic. . . . humorous, full of warmth and real invention” (The New Yorker), this beloved story--first published more than fifty ago--introduces readers to Milo and his adventures in the Lands Beyond. 

For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams. . . .

This book is one of my favorites of all time! It is a very unique book, set in a world that makes things often literal and humorous. For example, in a a kingdom of words, when the main character, Milo, asks for a light meal, the meal brought to him is a ray of light. Although the book is advanced for some readers, those who understand it will love it. In fact, the humor is there for one main purpose, which is to emphasize that, often, things that may seem boring are interesting (such as those related to learning), which Milo comes to realize. This book is very old, having first been published in 1961 (56 years ago), but it is still just as interesting. There is no plot twist, and the strange world is just that, which makes for an enjoyable, light read (although the book is not, in fact, simply a ray of light). All in all, this book is great for everyone, and, as kids read it, they may find themselves asking about things they had never thought about before.

4 comments:

  1. I read this a long time ago and enjoyed it too.

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  2. I love classic kids books. The plotting is very different from what we have today, but the writing in this one is so clever and creative, it's hard not to love it. Thanks!

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  3. Well put - this is about appreciating learning and dealing with boredom. A fun book for a more sophisticated middle grader! Skip the 70s Disney movie though! ;-)

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  4. I read and reviewed this book as a young reporter when it came out. Have always loved this classic. Should read it again. Have given it to many grandchildren.

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