Okay, clearly The Phantom Tollbooth is not The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe. I did not get my act together in time to read C.S. Lewis for this week so I’m pushing it to next week. Without further ado, this week’s book #TBT!
Book: The Phantom Tollbooth // Norton Juster, published 1961
Memories: The Phantom Tollbooth was one of those books I sometimes forget about but the minute I remember it, I gush about how great it is. I remember loving this book as a kid, thinking how cool it would be to have a tollbooth like Milo and a ticking clock dog. I’ve always thought about it as a non-traditional whimsical fairy tale (I’d also put The Number Devil by Hans Magnus Enzensberger in this same group) that was just full of delight.
Thoughts as an adult: Love. Absolutely love. Milo is an irritating boy but his adventure is so wonderfully weird and full of puns. I laughed out loud multiple times (a little problematic on a crowded train during my morning commute…) and the cast of characters Milo, Tock, and the Humbug meet are all super zany. I had forgotten enough of the plot that I was surprised and engaged the entire time. Plus the ink drawings are KILLER. The only issue I had with The Phantom Tollbooth was that there were a few times the whole “do something with your life!” and “learning is great!” was a little too in your face. It is a book written for kids, intended (I think) to inspire them to not be like Milo, which I do appreciate.
Does it hold up? Yes yes yes yes yes. I loved it. This is a wonderful book not enough people know about and I want everyone – child and adult – to read it and love it.
Next week’s #TBT will be The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis (to make up for not reading it this week). If you’ve read it and have feeling about it, comment or tweet me @EMurch.
Until next time, happy reading!