Wednesday, March 28, 2012

What's Christian Reading? The Phantom Tollbooth

Last week, Christian told me that he's tired of reading chapter books. So, I took him to a bookstore, and I told him that he could pick out any book under $10, hoping to get him hooked on a new series that he could continue reading by checking books out of the library.

Of course, he couldn't find anything. Everything I suggested was met by snorts of "No" or "Boring." Mind you, these weren't any random books, these were titles like Fablehaven, Gregor the Overlander, and the Pendragon series. Nothing sparked his interest.

It was at that point that I decided I was trying too hard. We went home and did some stuff. Later on, I casually mentioned that since he was bored, maybe he should read a book about another boy who was bored. I handed him my ancient copy of The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster.

He took it doubtfully and looked it over. Then he opened it annd read a page. "Well, maybe I can read a chapter," he said. By the end of the next day, he'd finished it. Now he's off and running again, reading some books he got from the library book sale this past weekend. Thank goodness for the classics.

Here's what Christian says The Phantom Tollbooth is about.

"It is about a boy named Milo who has nothing to do and gets a tollbooth and a toy car mailed to him. When he drives into the tollbooth it transports him to another world. He meets the watchdog, Tock. Tock has a big clock in his side. He and Tock have to rescue the two princesses, Rhyme and Reason. He makes it to a city, Dictionopolis, and meets the king.

"Milo then is given the mission to find Rhyme and Reason. He goes to Digitopolis and meets a second king who also asks him to rescue the princesses. There is a war between letters and numbers. Rescuing the princesses will help end it.

"Then, he goes through the land of the demons. They live in the Mountains of Ignorance. It's not a nice place. He also has to jump to the Island of Conclusions. I thought that was funny."

Here's what Christian liked best about the book.

"I liked when he met Tock. Tock  wound up being a good friend to Milo. Milo didn't have any friends before Tock. That's why I like that part so much."

Was there anything that you didn't like?

"There wasn't anything that I didn't like. It was a really great book."

So, how did Christian rate The Phantom Tollbooth?

He gives it 5 out of 5 flaming monkey heads.


  1. Somehow I never read this one. One of my older brothers loved it- but it never made my way to my hands. I will have to give this one a try- I trust Christian's opinion!

    1. You have to read this book. All the double meaninngs are great. When I first read this as a kid, I didn't get half of them. It's just a well done book, plus it's got that theme of boy travels to another world--my favorite theme!

  2. Is this a classic classic or just one of the newer ones that in schools they call "classics"

    1. I don't know if they read this in school, but it's a classic to me. I think it's generally regarded as a classic.

  3. Ok well I might have to read it then. :)

    1. It's really rather good. The message is rather overt to adults, but it's very clever.