I read The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster just recently. I truly enjoyed this book. It is about a boy named Milo who never knew what to do with himself. Milo had everything a child could want. He was bored with everything until one day a tollbooth appeared in his bedroom. Along Milo’s journey he met his friend Tock, a dog with a watch as his body, and the humbug, a beetle that wants everyone to think of him as smart and wonderful. In the land of Digitopolis the trio encountered King Azaz, who gives them permission to rescue the beautiful Princesses Rhyme and Reason. They adventure into many lands ( Digitopolis, The Valley of Sound to name a few) to accomplish their task. While on this journey, Milo learns to value education, use common sense, and especially escape boredom, which is his main problem. You will have to read to find out if they rescue Rhyme and Reason.
One reason I loved this book was that Norton Juster did a fabulous job with puns. Each page was crafted with his creative use of words. For example (From Sparknotes):
Juster frequently plays upon the dual meanings of words and expressions to create humorous situations. When Milo orders a “light meal” at Azaz’s banquet, he is literally served light. When Milo catches a word on the tip of his tongue in the Soundkeeper’s fortress, a word physically appears in his mouth. When the Humbug jumps to the conclusion that nothing more can go wrong with the group’s journey, he leaps out of the car and lands on the island of Conclusions. Juster uses puns both to amuse and educate, as these unusual situations often result in Milo learning an important lesson.
Another reason I loved this book was the theme to value education. Milo educated himself on each little adventure he went on. This book has a lot to say about the importance of education. As an educator I truly believe learning is everything. Education is the key to success in life.
I look forward to teaching this book with my 6th grade students. I hope that they enjoy it as much as I have.