The Phantom Tollbooth 50th Anniversary

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How can some books continue to entertain readers generation after generation? Clearly, “The Phantom Tollbooth” has staying power.

How can some books continue to entertain readers generation after generation? Clearly, “The Phantom Tollbooth” has staying power. The humorous story, written by Norton Juster in 1961, has recently celebrated its 50th anniversary.

 

The story begins with Milo, a very insecure boy who always seems to be bored. One day he arrives home and there is a mysterious package for him. He opens it up and it is a tollbooth. He sets up all of the road signs and the tollbooth, then gets into his toy car and drives through. He soon finds himself in a magical, mysterious land called the Kingdom of Wisdom. He befriends a dog named Tock and a bug name Humbug. Throughout the book, Milo meets some very strange people in the land of words, Dictionapolis, and the land of numbers, Digitopolis. The two lands are at war over which is more important: words or numbers. Together, the three friends must rescue the princesses, Rhyme and Reason, from the castle in the air and help the two lands get along. Their quest takes them through the Mountains of Ignorance and they jump to Conclusion Island. (Puns like these are used throughout the story.) In the end, he must go home, but then he sees the world with different eyes.

 

I think that young people have been enjoying this book for so long because of the witty humor the author used. For example, Tock was a watchdog. He had a clock attached to him and he was able to fly, because time flies. The adventure is also chock full of ink illustrations that were very interesting and fun to look at. I also think that it’s a entertaining read for just about anyone. It is a classic fairy tale and I believe it will be enjoyed for at least another 50 years.