Sunday, September 01, 2013

Sunday Salon: Reading The Phantom Tollbooth (1961)

The Phantom Tollbooth. Norton Juster. Illustrated by Jules Feiffer. 1961/2011. Random House. 272 pages. [Source: Review copy]

There was once a boy named Milo who didn't know what to do with himself--not just sometimes, but always.

I loved, loved, loved this one! It is easily one of those books I could read over and over and over again. I didn't discover it as a child, but, I'm very glad I've discovered it now!

Milo, our hero, is about to have an "impossible" adventure. His day starts out very ordinary, however, by the end of the day Milo will be quite transformed!

It starts with a mysterious gift-box. It holds a tollbooth for him to construct, also included are instructions, rule books, and a map. He randomly chooses to go to Dictionopolis. But though that is his original destination, Milo finds that travels--magical or not--take some thought and intention.

The writing is AMAZING. It is clever, rich in meaning and symbolism. And it is oh so quotable! One of those rare books where you could almost open up the book to any page and find a gem worth quoting!

Loved the writing, loved the creativity, loved the characters!

Favorite quotes:
“Expect everything, I always say, and the unexpected never happens.”
“You may not see it now," said the Princess of Pure Reason, looking knowingly at Milo's puzzled face, "but whatever we learn has a purpose and whatever we do affects everything and everyone else, if even in the tiniest way. Why, when a housefly flaps his wings, a breeze goes round the world; when a speck of dust falls to the ground, the entire planet weighs a little more; and when you stamp your foot, the earth moves slightly off its course. Whenever you laugh, gladness spreads like the ripples in the pond; and whenever you're sad, no one anywhere can be really happy. And it's much the same thing with knowledge, for whenever you learn something new, the whole world becomes that much richer.”
“So many things are possible just as long as you don't know they're impossible.”
“Everybody is so terribly sensitive about the things they know best.”
“And remember, also," added the Princess of Sweet Rhyme, "that many places you would like to see are just off the map and many things you want to know are just out of sight or a little beyond your reach. But someday you'll reach them all, for what you learn today, for no reason at all, will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow.”
“In this box are all the words I know…Most of them you will never need, some you will use constantly, but with them you may ask all the questions which have never been answered and answer all the questions which have never been asked. All the great books of the past and all the ones yet to come are made with these words. With them there is no obstacle you cannot overcome. All you must learn to do is to use them well and in the right places.” 
© 2013 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews

4 comments:

Ms. Yingling 6:42 PM  

If I had to memorize a book, ala Fahrenheit 451, I would memorize this one. Brilliant stuff.

Joyful Reader 7:28 PM  

Looks like a fun read. Something I could read and give to my nieces and nephews! Thanks for the tip!

Anonymous,  5:49 AM  

Thank you

Welcome to the site of free books

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Anna Ilona Mussmann 9:31 AM  

I especially love the quotation, “Everybody is so terribly sensitive about the things they know best." I have such a hard time reading historical fiction about time periods I've studied, but am perfectly happy with reading about the ones of which I am ignorant!

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Review Policy

I am interested in reviewing books and audio books. This blog focuses on books written for middle grade on up (essentially 10 to a 110). I review middle grade fiction and young adult fiction (aka tween and teen).

I also review adult books.

I read in a variety of genres including realistic fiction, historical fiction, mystery, romance, science fiction, fantasy, literary fiction, and chick lit. (I've read one western to date.)

I read a few poetry books, a few short story collections, a few graphic novels, a few nonfiction books.

I am especially fond of:

  • Regency romances (including Austen prequels/sequels)
  • Historical fiction set in the Tudor dynasty
  • Historical fiction and nonfiction set during World War II
  • Jewish fiction/nonfiction
  • dystopias
  • apocalyptic fiction
  • science fiction (especially if it involves time travel and alternate realities)
  • fantasy
  • multicultural books and international books

I am not a fan of:

  • sports books
  • horse books
  • dog books if the dog dies (same goes with most pets actually except maybe fish)
  • westerns (if it's a pioneer story with women and children, then maybe)
  • extremely violent books with blood, blood, and more blood

I am more interested in strong characters, well-written, fleshed-out, human characters. Plot is secondary to me in a way. I have to care about the characters in order to care about the plot. That being said, compelling storytelling is something that I love. I love to become absorbed in what I'm reading.

If you're interested in sending me a review copy of your book, I'm happy to hear from you. Email me at laney_po AT yahoo DOT com.

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4) In all of my reviews I strive for honesty. My reviews are my opinions--so yes, they are subjective--you should know my blog will feature both negative and positive reviews.
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