The Phantom Tollbooth’s Magic
Somewhere in 7th or 8th grade I was introduced to a silly book called The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster. What I didn’t know at the time is that this nonsensical book had changed the lives of many thousands of people, and it would have a great impact on mine.
The Phantom Tollbooth tells the story of a young boy named Milo, “who didn’t know what to do with himself – not just sometimes, but always.” Nothing seems to interest him at all until a magical tollbooth shows up in his bedroom, and he drives through it into a land of fascinating characters and places.
He meets the Whether Man (not the Weather Man – after all, it’s much more important to know whether there will be weather than what the weather will be).
He travels to the land of Dictionopolis, made entirely of words, and must set out to rescue Rhyme and Reason, without whom the Kingdom will crumble.
Along the way readers are treated to more quotable quotes than one could imagine. Some of my very favorites are:
“The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what’s in between, and they took great pleasure in doing just that.”
“Time is a gift, given to you, given to give you the time you need, the time you need to have the time of your life.”
“Whether or not you find your own way, you’re bound to find some way.”
“Expectations is the place you must always go to before you get to where you’re going.”
There is so much magic in such a seemingly innocuous book written for the middle school level. I believe all children, teens, and adults should read it.