A classic. A wonderful classic. Great to read aloud or for an inquisitive mind to devour. It tells the story of Milo, who is bored.
He receives a mysterious parcel, a tollbooth, which prompts him to jump into his toy car. Passing the tollbooth Milo finds himself in a magical land filled with wonder and wordplay. The two rulers are feuding and the country is falling apart because Princesses Rhyme and Reason has been banished.
I remember reading this book as a child. The principal cities of Digitopolis and Dictionopolis have stuck with me forever, as had the meaning of the word “doldrums.” Milo almost immediately ends up stuck in doldrums, before escaping, thanks to the help of the watchdog, Tick Tock. It’s that sort of book. danger lurks at every turn – not least that of Milo failing to notice what’s going on. As he continues he finds himself in danger
Milo continues to find himself in danger as he jumps to Conclusions, battles against Dr. Kakphonous A. Dischord and other capers involving similarly clever quips. The Phantom Tollbooth is a funny book, filled with puns. Which is probably why I liked then and love it now. The book encourages children to think about the world around them, without them realising that they are doing so.
I borrow this quote from children’s book reviewer Amanda Craig
“I read this to my 7-year-old, and he loved it so much that it’s become the gateway to loving reading. He tries to walk around reading it and takes it with him wherever he goes. I had exactly the same reaction at the same age – as did my daughter.”
My oldest loved it too, and writing this has made me realise, I really need to dig my copy out again and read it to the next one down!