Thursday, June 9, 2011

The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

This book is amazing! Norton Juster must be a genius because this book is fun and can be used as a learning tool at the same time. The book is full of puns and other idioms that are taken too literally. His characters include Tock the watchdog (a dog with a watch for a body), Alec Bings (his family starts at the height they will be and grow downward towards the ground), King Azaz the Unabridged, the Mathemagician, and the princesses Rhyme and Reason (siblings and children of the King of Wisdom). Milo is a bored boy who ends up in this new world and he must try to save Rhyme and Reason in order to bring King Azaz and the Mathemagician to peace again.

I know these are all taken out of context and might be confusing, but here are just a few examples of how great his writing is:

"Oh no," said the little man, "I'm the Whether Man, not the Weather Man, for after all it's more important to know whether there will be weather than what the weather will be."

"I am also the judge. Now would you like a long or a short sentence?"
"A short one, if you please," said Milo.
"Good," said the judge, rapping his gavel three times. "I always have trouble remembering the long ones. How about 'I am'? That's the shortest sentence I know."

"Don't be frightened," she laughed. "I'm not a witch- I'm a Which."

"Be very quiet," advised the duke, "for it goes without saying."

I know I am late to see the greatness of this book... but no more. If you haven't read it, please do.

1 comment:

  1. This makes me happy. Also, I started rereading the book yesterday, and that makes me happy too! His writing is fantastic. I actually have a page in my giant journal (which you don't know about, so I'll have to explain later) where I wrote down a bunch of names I like for a baby, and a Phantom Tollbooth quote accompanied it.

    "Can you imagine what would happen if we named all the twos Henry or George or Robert or John or lots of other things? You'd have to say Robert plus John equals four, and if the four's name were Albert, things would be hopeless."