For the Love of Words: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

Beloved Milo! The lucky boy who meets "some of the most logically illogical characters" ever! [quote from the book jacket]

Beloved Milo! The lucky boy who meets “some of the most logically illogical characters” ever! [quote from the book jacket]

April 24, 2014

To the next (and probably younger) reader of this book,

I am 40 years old. That in itself may be shocking to you…but more shocking is that this is my first reading of The Phantom Tollbooth. How I managed to live this long without reading it is a mystery because I’ve known of its existence for at least 15 years. I think I was put off by the thought of reading an illustrated book meant for kids but now that I’m ‘old’, embarrassment concerns me far less.

As a child, I would have LOVED this book. The wit and wisdom and general cleverness that Norton Juster includes on every page would have made me collapse and convulse from hysterics. My parents would have correspondingly (and correctly) labeled me a lunatic. And I would have read the story of Milo over and over again until I knew the order and intricacies of each of his adventures in Dictionopolis and Digitopolis.

So, I hope that you have found your way here much earlier in life than I did, so you can be inspired by the words for longer. Because this is the kind of book that makes children fall in love with words! And if you do enjoy this book (in particular, the clever puns and word play) then I will suggest a few more titles for you that I feel are personally responsible for my love of words!

1. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll. Through the Looking Glass (the sequel from 1871) contains my favourite nonsense poem “Jabberwocky”:

Jabberwocky

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! and through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

I love the poem but love Humpty Dumpty’s explanation of the words even more!

2. Anything by Dr. Seuss but Green Eggs and Ham is my personal favourite!

3. A Book of Nonsense by Edward Lear – a great collection of limericks!

4. Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein

5. For the Canadians – poet Dennis Lee always made me smile!

Enjoy!

Libby

my note inside the book

my note inside the book

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Filed under Books, Humor, Poetry

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