HomeBooks by AgeAges 4-8The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster | Book Review

The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster | Book Review

The Children’s Book Review | April 15, 2020

The Phantom Tollbooth

Written by Norton Juster

Illustrated by Jules Feiffer

Age Range: 8+

Hardcover: 256 pages

Publisher: Random House Bullseye Books (1961)

ISBN-13: 978-0394820378

What to Expect: Adventure and Life Lessons

Do your days sometimes feel boring? Does it seem as though there is just nothing to do? Even your room full of toys seems to have nothing to offer. Milo, the main character from The Phantom Tollbooth, can relate.

Life is super dull for Milo until the day a magic tollbooth randomly and most curiously appears in his room. Ready for some adventure, Milo decides to drive through the tollbooth in his toy car. There is absolutely nothing boring on the other side. Milo finds himself on a rescue mission to return Princesses Rhyme and Reason back to the Kingdom of Wisdom. He meets a fascinating array of characters along the way, including a ticking watchdog named Tock, Humbug, the Mathemagician, the Whether Man from Dictionopolis.

Author Norton Juster is incredibly smart, humorous, and playful with his words. Readers will be left pondering the entire concept of the book long after they reach the final page. Jules Feiffer’s drawings entertain throughout, and there is also a marvelous map included that features all of the places Milo visits. This story will very likely inspire readers to dust off their toys to see where their imaginations will take them. Perhaps they will end up on an imaginative adventure just as hilarious and exciting as Milo’s.

One should be careful when jumping to (the Isle of) Conclusions; however, many readers consider this the BEST BOOK EVER! Will you?

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About the Author

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.

About the Illustrator

Jules Feiffer lives in New York City with his wife, Jenny. Along with being a famed cartoonist, Feiffer is also the author of numerous novels, children’s books, plays and screenplays, including Carnal Knowledge, Harry, The Rat with Women and Little Murders, which was made into a celebrated movie.

The Phantom Tollbooth, written by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer, was reviewed by Bianca Schulze. Discover more books like The Phantom Tollbooth by following along with our reviews and articles tagged with , , , , , and .

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Bianca Schulze is the founder of The Children’s Book Review. She is a reader, reviewer, mother and children’s book lover. She also has a decade’s worth of experience working with children in the great outdoors. Combined with her love of books and experience as a children’s specialist bookseller, the goal is to share her passion for children’s literature to grow readers. Born and raised in Sydney, Australia, she now lives with her husband and three children near Boulder, Colorado.

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