Jan-Maat's Reviews > The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
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bookshelves: 20th-century, childrens-ya, fantasy, novel

Well I've had this book up on my goodreads shelves for a long time but had no particular idea what to write about it save: Clever playful little book about a boy who drives through the phantom tollbooth of the title and winds up on a quest to rescue the Princesses Rhyme and Reason. Witty. Until this morning. First I read Lisa's review, then I went for a walk. Then a thought blown out of the bending branches of a tree fly via my ear directly into my mind, that it was curious that a freewheeling adventure starts with a tollbooth, with its associations of paying for access. Indeed our hero does have to make a token payment, but then I recalled The Talking Parcel, in which the youthful heroes travel to their adventure by train, and I believe it is the case that in the Harry Potter adventures the children also travel by train (view spoiler)even at the end of Narnia it is by means of a train accident that the final characters transfer via death in life to life everlasting. It would seem crude and low even by my own (view spoiler) standards to make a cultural point here about the differences between the USA and Britain in terms if individualist car driving versus collectivist sharing of train journeys (view spoiler) revealed through children's writing, but today that's all I've got.
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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
August 9, 2011 – Shelved

Comments Showing 1-10 of 10 (10 new)

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message 1: by BlackOxford (new)

BlackOxford Looking forward to the gestating cultural point.


Celina I didn't like the driving part either. [I'm in the US, don't like driving.]


Lisa I think this book is best read with a bunch of unruly pre-teenagers sitting in a circle around you and commenting on every joke... adding to them as they go along! That is a journey in itself. And it sharpens the thinking skills of kids, as it is an unusually literary adventure - a reflection on the relationship between language and life.


message 4: by Jan-Maat (new) - added it

Jan-Maat Lisa wrote: "I think this book is best read with a bunch of unruly pre-teenagers sitting in a circle around you and commenting on every joke... adding to them as they go along! That is a journey in itself. And ..."

If I believed you then many books are best appreciated with a bunch of unruly pre-teenagers!


message 5: by Jan-Maat (new) - added it

Jan-Maat BlackOxford wrote: "Looking forward to the gestating cultural point."

the pregnancy of ideas can be longer than that of elephants! ;)


message 6: by Jan-Maat (new) - added it

Jan-Maat Celina wrote: "I didn't like the driving part either. [I'm in the US, don't like driving.]"

I didn't know that was possible, isn't enjoying driving, like gun ownership, virtually compulsory in the US?


message 7: by Manybooks (new)

Manybooks Jan-Maat wrote: "BlackOxford wrote: "Looking forward to the gestating cultural point."

the pregnancy of ideas can be longer than that of elephants! ;)"


Or one can just say that "kurz und prägnant" actually does mean something short and pregnant ...


message 8: by Jan-Maat (new) - added it

Jan-Maat Manybooks wrote: "Jan-Maat wrote: "BlackOxford wrote: "Looking forward to the gestating cultural point."

the pregnancy of ideas can be longer than that of elephants! ;)"

Or one can just say that "kurz und prägnant..."

like a mouse?


message 9: by Manybooks (last edited Feb 24, 2017 04:52AM) (new)

Manybooks Jan-Maat wrote: "Manybooks wrote: "Jan-Maat wrote: "BlackOxford wrote: "Looking forward to the gestating cultural point."

the pregnancy of ideas can be longer than that of elephants! ;)"

Or one can just say that ..."


Yup, and the mouse would also scare the elephant, an urban myth (or an urban moth).

That reminds me of a hilarious little German comic strip I saw years ago of a male elephant and female a mouse trying to tie the proverbial knot before a justice of the peace, who looks at them in consternation and asks "Sie wollen wirklich heiraten?" And the elephant sighs in response "Was heißt hier wollen, wir müssen."


message 10: by Jan-Maat (new) - added it

Jan-Maat Manybooks wrote: "Jan-Maat wrote: "Manybooks wrote: "Jan-Maat wrote: "BlackOxford wrote: "Looking forward to the gestating cultural point."

the pregnancy of ideas can be longer than that of elephants! ;)"

Or one c..."

sounds like a difficult delivery in prospect


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