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"In the city of my birth, I had a dream..."
The Phantom Tollbooth by Norman Juster 
31st-Jul-2006 11:55 pm
Third in my Yearling three-pack.

Anyone seen the movie? I did a long time ago and never realized that it was based on a book.

Juster, Norman. The Phantom Tollbooth. 1961. New York: Yearling, 2005.
Summary: With illustrations by Jules Feiffer. Ordinary boy Milo passes through a mysterious tollbooth into the Country of Wisdom, where, accompanied by the Watchdog and Humbug, he has many adventures and learns many things in his quest to free the princesses Rhyme and Reason, which will restore order and peace to the land.
Comments: Reasonably entertaining and wonderfully clever in it's ambitions, this classic children's novel reveres the judicious application of knowledge and decries ignorance in all of its forms. In other words, it's not just what you know; it's also how you use it...but that doesn't mean that all knowledge isn't of equal potential value--so NEVER stop paying attention! Thus, in addition, there are also moments of near Zen-like appreciation of each and every moment, no matter how seemingly banal. Of course, all of these messages are conveyed through Milo's fantastic adventures, and the Kingdom of Wisdom is second-to-none in inventive, yet coherent, theme. I was somewhat disappointed than the novel was so blatantly male in its orientation, but perhaps I shouldn't expect better from the time period in question. It's also too bad that the illustrations are ugly and amateurish. At least it had a dog.
Notes: paperback, 52nd printing
Rating: 7.5/10 - One of those rare children's classics that deserves (but for some reason does not have) household name status.
1st-Aug-2006 04:27 am (UTC)
Review archived.
1st-Aug-2006 04:18 pm (UTC)
This is one of those books that I always assumed everyone has read. It never fails to surprise me at how unknown it is.
1st-Aug-2006 04:23 pm (UTC)
I'd only seen the film as a kid, and I don't think THAT is particularly well-known either. Have you seen the film?
1st-Aug-2006 04:27 pm (UTC)
Nope, I had no idea that there was one. If I did, I probably wouldn't watch it. I try to stay away from films of beloved literature.
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