Audrey's Reviews > The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
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it was amazing
bookshelves: humor-satire-goofy, own-hard-copy, 2019-re-reads-and-misc
Read 2 times. Last read February 24, 2019 to February 28, 2019.

My copy of this book is so old — there’s no bar code, and at the top it says 95¢. This is one of the books that my dad read to me when I was little. A lot of the puns went over my head, but I loved the world and the goofy characters, and I’d stare at the map for a long time. By now I’ve read it quite a few times but almost seem to notice something new.

The whole book is a play on words with lots of idioms expressed literally:

“I didn’t know that I was going to have to eat my words,” objected Milo.
“Of course, of course, everyone here does,” the king grunted. “You should have made a tastier speech.”

“How are you going to make it move? It doesn’t have a —”
“Be very quiet,” advised the duke, “for it goes without saying.”




There is still a plot, though, and a quest and dangerous demons and so on. The story is a celebration of knowledge and using information wisely. I don’t think the book translates well into other languages with all the plays on words. There are a number of idioms that have fallen out of use as well, sadly.

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Quotes Audrey Liked

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

Norton Juster
“I know one thing for certain; it is much harder to tell whether you are lost than whether you were lost, for, on many occasions, where you are going is exactly where you are. On the other hand, if you often find that where you've been is not at all where you should have gone, and, since it's much more difficult to find your way back from someplace you've never left, I suggest you go there immediately and then decide.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“Infinity is a dreadfully poor place. They can never manage to make ends meet.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth

Norton Juster
“What you can do is often simply a matter of what you will do.”
Norton Juster, The Phantom Tollbooth


Reading Progress

Finished Reading
September 22, 2011 – Shelved
March 9, 2015 – Shelved as: humor-satire-goofy
January 12, 2018 – Shelved as: own-hard-copy
February 24, 2019 – Started Reading
February 28, 2019 – Finished Reading
March 3, 2019 – Shelved as: 2019-re-reads-and-misc

Comments Showing 1-1 of 1 (1 new)

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message 1: by Holly (new)

Holly No barcode! Love it!


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