Anuradha's Reviews > The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
Rate this book
Clear rating

by
48159983
I love (good) children's books, and this is definitely one of the best I've ever read. My only regret is that I didn't get to enjoy it as a child.

I recommend reading Mia's review, because it's a true work of art, and without it, I would have never learnt about this wonderful little book.

The Phantom Tollbooth is a delightful book full of wordplay, and what incredible wordplay at that! It is a children's book, which not just teaches about numbers and letters and words and responsibility, but I recommend it for all users, young and old. It is full of interesting, absurd, ridiculous characters like the Whether Man, the Watch Dog, kings Azaz and Mathemagician, princesses Rhyme and Reason; as well as fascinating places like the Island of Conclusions and the Valley of Silence. It is full to the brim with puns, alliterations, rhymes and such utterly clever wordplay, I probably literally squealed in delight sometimes.
Take, for instance, part of the Lethargians' schedule:
“From 9:30 to 10:30 we dawdle and delay.
“From 1:00 to 2:00 we linger and loiter.
“From 4:00 to 5:00 we loaf and lounge until dinner.
“From 6:00 to 7:00 we dillydally.


On the way, Milo, the ten year old protagonist, learns many valuable lessons; such as learning to pick his words carefully before speaking, so he can make sense, and understanding the importance of mathematics in life. He also learns that most things in life are only impossible, if one perceives so. He learns about the meaning of sound, and the value of silence. Most of all, he learns to learn from his mistakes. He learns that things we see may not always be as they seem, and that it is important to understand rather than just idly see.

“You must never feel badly about making mistakes,” explained Reason quietly, “as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.”

I myself had so much to learn from the book, betwixt all the laughs and the amusement provided by the wordplay. Math, for instance, has always been my Achilles' heel. I'm quite good at it, but highly prone to making silly mistakes. I also have the terrible habit of jumping to conclusions. The vivid imagery provided by this book on both these...elements kind of made me want to work on myself in these aspects. Remember that without Rhyme of Reason, a Castle of Air will always float away. Remember the importance of an Average, and the problems with Overbearing Know-it-All and Gross Exaggeration.

It's a little difficult for me to write anymore than I have, for fear of spoiling this, but I recommend it highly. Read it if you're feeling bored; read it if you're feeling low. Whether a child or an adult, you'll laugh, cry, learn, and be a little bit wiser after you're done.
17 likes · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Phantom Tollbooth.
Sign In »

Quotes Anuradha Liked

Norton Juster
“The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what's in between, and they took great pleasure in doing just that.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“Things which are equally bad are also equally good. Try to look at the bright side of things.
- Humbug”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“Expect everything, I always say, and the unexpected never happens.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“The only thing you can do easily is be wrong, and that's hardly worth the effort.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“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.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“It's bad enough wasting time without killing it.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“Everybody is so terribly sensitive about the things they know best.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“You can swim all day in the Sea of Knowledge and not get wet.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“So many things are possible just as long as you don't know they're impossible.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“Whether or not you find your own way, you're bound to find some way. If you happen to find my way, please return it, as it was lost years ago. I imagine by now it's quite rusty.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“...it's very much like your trying to reach infinity. You know that it's there, you just don't know where-but just because you can never reach it doesn't mean that it's not worth looking for.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“Expectations is the place you must always go to before you get to where you're going.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“Just because you have a choice, it doesn't mean that any of them 'has' to be right.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“Have you ever heard the wonderful silence just before the dawn? Or the quiet and calm just as a storm ends? Or perhaps you know the silence when you haven't the answer to a question you've been asked, or the hush of a country road at night, or the expectant pause of a room full of people when someone is just about to speak, or, most beautiful of all, the moment after the door closes and you're alone in the whole house? Each one is different, you know, and all very beautiful if you listen carefully.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“You must never feel badly about making mistakes ... as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“if something is there, you can only see it with your eyes open, but if it isn't there, you can see it just as well with your eyes closed. That's why imaginary things are often easier to see than real ones.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“There are no wrong roads to anywhere.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“But just because you can never reach it, doesn’t mean that it’s not worth looking for.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth
tags: life

Norton Juster
“... what you learn today, for no reason at all, will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth


Reading Progress

January 2, 2016 – Shelved
January 2, 2016 – Shelved as: to-read
January 29, 2018 – Started Reading
January 30, 2018 – Finished Reading
February 4, 2018 – Shelved as: all-the-good-bois
February 4, 2018 – Shelved as: el-clasico
February 4, 2018 – Shelved as: favourites
February 4, 2018 – Shelved as: humorists
February 4, 2018 – Shelved as: i-like-em-short
February 4, 2018 – Shelved as: it-s-a-kind-of-magic
February 4, 2018 – Shelved as: in-your-closet-in-your-head
February 4, 2018 – Shelved as: literary-gasm
February 4, 2018 – Shelved as: laughed-till-i-cried
February 4, 2018 – Shelved as: masters-of-mystery
February 4, 2018 – Shelved as: pleasantly-surprised
February 4, 2018 – Shelved as: smells-like-teen-spirit
February 4, 2018 – Shelved as: surreal
February 4, 2018 – Shelved as: i-think-it-s-funny
February 4, 2018 – Shelved as: travel
February 4, 2018 – Shelved as: trippy
February 4, 2018 – Shelved as: uber-cool-villain

Comments Showing 1-4 of 4 (4 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

Mia (Parentheses Enthusiast) Oh my goodness Anuradha I am so happy you loved this!! I'm so excited to read your review :D


Anuradha It was so precious, Mia! I'm so glad for your review, for I would have never read this otherwise! :D


✨ Y.♡ˎ´ I watched the movie, so when I saw it was made from a book- I definetly want to read it!


back to top