Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth
by Norton Juster

Illustrations by Jules Feiffer


My eight year old, J was not a fantasy reader despite my best efforts to introduce her to this genre. That changed after she read The Keepers. This review is not about The Keepers though at some point I will with help from J of course. Instead, this one is about one of the other books that border on the fantasy genre that J really liked.

She says The Phantom Tollbooth is a wonderful book in which a series of events happen because of a tollbooth. The main character, Milo has a colorless life until a tollbooth arrives in his room with a map and a set of instructions. Then the adventures begin. According to J, reading this book is a lot like solving a puzzle. Milo, Tock (a watchdog), The Humbug go looking for Rhyme and Reason who are princesses who resolve arguments. The princesses got banished by their brothers because when the brothers had an argument over what is more important - numbers or words, Rhyme and Reason said both were equally important. The brothers were not happy with this resolution because they wanted one person to win and the other to lose.

Will Milo, Tock and The Humbug be able to find Rhyme and Reason when they know that demons may try to harm them while are are out looking for the banished princesses ? And if so, will princesses be able to return home safely ? To find out, says J, you have to read the book !


Praba Ram said...


Great having you back! I can hear you on "despite my best efforts to introduce her to this genre". My 7 yr old is only into realistic fiction. Fantasy is in the top of my list along with mystery and historical fiction for the coming years.

For now, I can only be happy that during preschool and kindergarten years, she did enjoy reading a good doze of fantasy in Dr.Seuss...particularly, Lorax, Horton hears a who and Sneetches.. I think they qualify as modern fantasy, don't they? :-)

Phantom Tollbooth sounds neat. The modern appeal sounds like fun - the part about numbers and words.... Loved your daughter's perspectives incorporated in the review.

Thanks for a lovely pick. Keep 'em coming so we all benefit from your daughter's bdding fantasy and other genre reading experiences!

Choxbox said...

Echoing P - liked your daughter's perspective and can totally relate :)

Got this for my (then) 8 year old and it continues to be a mega hit. Has been read over and over to the point that it has been memorised!

sathish said...

heartcrossing - I was hooked by the wonderful illustration on the cover page.
would love to get hold of it.

Heartcrossings said...

Praba - I will try to be more regular here in 2010 than I have been this past year :) I have enlisted my trusty assistant J to help me out.

ChoxBox - Yes,that's the way it is with some book. Pre-K it was Cloudy With A Chance of Meatballs - she just adored that book :)

Sathish - Hope you got to check out the book too.

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