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The Phantom Tollbooth

Cover of The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth

With almost 4 million copies sold over 50 years after its original publication, generations of readers have now journeyed with Milo to the Lands Beyond in this beloved classic that Philip Pullman says "comes up bright and new every time I read it . . . it will continue to charm and delight for a very long time yet. And teach us some wisdom, too." Enriched by Jules Feiffer's splendid illustrations, the wit, wisdom, and wordplay of Norton Juster's offbeat fantasy are as beguiling as ever.

For Milo, everything's a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he's got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason. Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it's exciting beyond his wildest dreams!

From the Hardcover edition.
With almost 4 million copies sold over 50 years after its original publication, generations of readers have now journeyed with Milo to the Lands Beyond in this beloved classic that Philip Pullman says "comes up bright and new every time I read it . . . it will continue to charm and delight for a very long time yet. And teach us some wisdom, too." Enriched by Jules Feiffer's splendid illustrations, the wit, wisdom, and wordplay of Norton Juster's offbeat fantasy are as beguiling as ever.

For Milo, everything's a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he's got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason. Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it's exciting beyond his wildest dreams!

From the Hardcover edition.
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Copies-
  • Available:
    0
  • Library copies:
    4
Levels-
  • ATOS:
    6.7
  • Lexile:
    1000
  • Interest Level:
    MG
  • Reading Level:
    5 - 7

Recommended for you


Excerpts-
  • Chapter I: Milo

    There was once a boy named Milo who didn't know what to do with himself -- not just sometimes, but always.

    When he was in school he longed to be out, and when he was out he longed to be in. On the way he thought about coming home, and coming home he thought about going. Wherever he was he wished he were somewhere else, and when he got there he wondered why he'd bothered. Nothing really interested him -- least of all the things that should have.

    "It seems to me that almost everything is a waste of time," he remarked one day as he walked dejectedly home from school. "I can't see the point in learning to solve useless problems, or subtracting turnips from turnips, or knowing where Ethiopia is or how to spell February." And, since no one bothered to explain otherwise, he regarded the process of seeking knowledge as the greatest waste of time of all.

    As he and his unhappy thoughts hurried along (for while he was never anxious to be where he was going, he liked to get there as quickly as possible) it seemed a great wonder that the world, which was so large, could sometimes feel so small and empty.

    "And worst of all," he continued sadly, "there's nothing for me to do, nowhere I'd care to go, and hardly anything worth seeing," He punctuated this last thought with such a deep sigh that a house sparrow singing nearby stopped and rushed home to be with his family.

    Without stopping or looking up, Milo dashed past the buildings and busy shops that lined the street and in a few minutes reached home -- dashed through the lobby -- hopped onto the elevator -- two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and off again -- opened the apartment door -- rushed into his room -- flopped dejectedly into a chair, and grumbled softly, "Another long afternoon."

    He looked glumly at all the things he owned. The books that were too much trouble to read, the tools he'd never learned to use, the small electric automobile he hadn't driven in months -- or was it years? -- and the hundreds of other games and toys, and bats and balls, and bits and pieces scattered around him. And then, to one side of the room, just next to the phonograph, he noticed something he had certainly never seen before.

    Who could possibly have left such an enormous package and such a strange one? For, while it was not quite square, it was definitely not round, and for its size it was larger than almost any other big package of smaller dimension that he'd ever seen.

    Attached to one side was a bright-blue envelope which said simply: "FOR MILO, WHO HAS PLENTY OF TIME."

    Of course, if you've ever gotten a surprise package you can imagine how puzzled and excited Milo was; and if you've never gotten one, pay close attention, because someday you might.

    "I don't think it's my birthday," he puzzled, "and Christmas must be months away, and I haven't been outstandingly good, or even good at all." (He had to admit this even to himself.) "Most probably I won't like it anyway, but since I don't know where it came from, I can't possibly send it back." He thought about it for quite a while and then opened the envelope, but just to be polite.

    "ONE GENUINE TURNPIKE TOLLBOOTH," it stated -- and then it went on:

    "EASILY ASSEMBLED AT HOME, AND FOR USE BY THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER TRAVELED IN LANDS BEYOOND."

    "Beyond what?" thought Milo as he continued to read.

    "THIS PACKAGE CONTAINS THE FOLLOWING ITEMS:

    "One (1) genuine turnpike tollbooth to be erected according to directions.

    "Three (3) precautionary signs to be used in a precautionary fashion.

    "Assorted coins for use in paying tolls.

    "One (1) map, up to date and carefully drawn by master...

About the Author-
  • Norton Juster is an architect and the author of other highly acclaimed children's books, including The Dot and the Line, The Hello, Goodbye Window, illustrated by Chris Raschka, which received the Caldecott Medal, and The Odious Ogre, also illustrated by Jules Feiffer.

    Jules Feiffer is the author and illustrator of two novels for young readers, as well as several acclaimed picture books, including Bark, George and Meanwhile . . . He has won numerous prizes for his cartoons, plays, and screenplays.

Reviews-
  • Anna Quindlen, The New York Times

    " I read [The Phantom Tollbooth] first when I was 10. I still have the book report I wrote, which began 'This is the best book ever.'"

  • The New Yorker "A classic... Humorous, full of warmth and real invention."
Title Information+
  • Publisher
    Random House Children's Books
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Digital Rights Information+
  • Copyright Protection (DRM) required by the Publisher may be applied to this title to limit or prohibit printing or copying. File sharing or redistribution is prohibited. Your rights to access this material expire at the end of the lending period. Please see Important Notice about Copyrighted Materials for terms applicable to this content.

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