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The Phantom Tollbooth Hardcover – January 1, 1989

4.8 out of 5 stars 1,895 ratings

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

"It seems to me that almost everything is a waste of time," Milo laments. "[T]here's nothing for me to do, nowhere I'd care to go, and hardly anything worth seeing." This bored, bored young protagonist who can't see the point to anything is knocked out of his glum humdrum by the sudden and curious appearance of a tollbooth in his bedroom. Since Milo has absolutely nothing better to do, he dusts off his toy car, pays the toll, and drives through. What ensues is a journey of mythic proportions, during which Milo encounters countless odd characters who are anything but dull.

Norton Juster received (and continues to receive) enormous praise for this original, witty, and oftentimes hilarious novel, first published in 1961. In an introductory "Appreciation" written by Maurice Sendak for the 35th anniversary edition, he states, "The Phantom Tollbooth leaps, soars, and abounds in right notes all over the place, as any proper masterpiece must." Indeed.

As Milo heads toward Dictionopolis he meets with the Whether Man ("for after all it's more important to know whether there will be weather than what the weather will be"), passes through The Doldrums (populated by Lethargarians), and picks up a watchdog named Tock (who has a giant alarm clock for a body). The brilliant satire and double entendre intensifies in the Word Market, where after a brief scuffle with Officer Short Shrift, Milo and Tock set off toward the Mountains of Ignorance to rescue the twin Princesses, Rhyme and Reason. Anyone with an appreciation for language, irony, or Alice in Wonderland-style adventure will adore this book for years on end. (Ages 8 and up)

Review

"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.'"-Anna Quindlen, The New York Times

"A classic--Humorous, full of warmth and real invention."-The New Yorker

The Phantom Tollbooth is the closest thing we have to a modern Alice in Wonderland.”—The Guardian

“The book lingers long after turning the final page. . . . A classic indeed.” —Los Angeles Review of Books

“You loved the humor and adventure . . . and [now] you’ll marvel at [the book's] wit, complexity, and its understanding of how children perceive the passage of time.” —Entertainment Weekly

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4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
1,895 customer ratings
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Top international reviews

dan
5.0 out of 5 stars Very good read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 14, 2019
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Carly Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars 😁 - would recommend to all
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 1, 2019
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Herridgerose
5.0 out of 5 stars Ideas are fun
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 19, 2019
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KJD
5.0 out of 5 stars FIVE STAR!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 5, 2017
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mr stephen p dibden
5.0 out of 5 stars Good
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on February 5, 2020
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Toby M.
5.0 out of 5 stars My favourite book in Primary School
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 8, 2015
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Larry
5.0 out of 5 stars Very helpful company
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 19, 2019
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John Ross
5.0 out of 5 stars Daughter liked it
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 24, 2019
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Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful imagery.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 31, 2018
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Patricia Berredo Da Veiga
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 2, 2018
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Graham
4.0 out of 5 stars My daughter enjoyed it.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 7, 2018
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Heldon69
5.0 out of 5 stars The Point
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on December 4, 2016
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DomTurnbull
4.0 out of 5 stars OK
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 18, 2013
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Bryn
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice book
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on August 9, 2018
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Nessy
5.0 out of 5 stars Quick delivery - faster than advised
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 20, 2012
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