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


Ms. Yingling said...

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

Monica said...

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

Anonymous said...

Thank you

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Anna Mussmann said...

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!