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The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth

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Chosen as a favourite by Philip Pullman: "Superb wit and vigorous invention."

As whimsical as The Wizard of Oz, but with the allegorical wisdom of Alice in Wonderland, The Phantom Tollbooth is a book for adults and children to share. Milo is bored with everything until a mysterious tollbooth appears in his room. He hops into his electric car and goes exploring, finding himself in a strange land. Learning that the Princesses Rhyme and Reason need rescuing he sets off with Tock the watchdog to the Mountains of Ignorance to save them, passing through the Doldrums and the city of Dictionopolis along the way, and meeting some very strange characters. On his return, Milo is a changed boy, and everything seems worth trying. Juster turns abstract ideas into unforgettable images, at the very least children will be slow to jump to Conclusions after reading this! ~ Andrea Reece


The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

When Milo finds an enormous package in his bedroom, he’s delighted to have something to relieve his boredom with school. And when he opens it to find – as the label states – One Genuine Turnpike Tollbooth, he gets right into his pedal car and sets off through the Tollbooth and away on a magical journey!

Milo’s extraordinary voyage takes him into such places as the Land of Expectation, the Doldrums, the Mountains of Ignorance and the Castle in the Air. He meets the weirdest and most unexpected characters (such as Tock, the watchdog, the Gelatinous Giant, and the Threadbare Excuse, who mumbles the same thing over and over again), and, once home, can hardly wait to try out the Tollbooth again. But will it be still there when he gets back from school?


Think Alice in Wonderland for the modern age. Brilliant. The Guardian

The most unpredictable, the most stimulating children's book I have read for a very long time. Words, numbers, cliches, proverbs are taken literally, imaginatively or punningly in an enthralling and very funny dazzle of mental fireworks. The Sunday Times

An altogether remarkable book, one that should delight any bright child, and that will be no burden for a parent to read aloud. Related with unflagging wit and a marvellous sense of the fun to be had with words, this book will be enjoyed by children for years to come. Spectator

About the Author

Norton Juster

Norton Juster is an architect and planner, professor emeritus of design at Hampshire College, and the author of a number of highly acclaimed children's books, including The Dot and the Line, which was made into an Academy Award-winning animated film. He has collaborated with Sheldon Harnick on the libretto for an opera based on The Phantom Tollbooth. The musical adaptation, with a score by Arnold Black, premiered in 1995 and will soon be performed in schools and theaters nationwide. An amateur cook and professional eater, Mr. Juster lives with his wife in Amherst, Massachusetts.
(biography from publisher)

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Book Info

Publication date

3rd March 2008


Norton Juster

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Harpercollins Publishers


272 pages


7+ readers
9+ readers

Fantasy & magical realism (Children's / Teenage)



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