The Phantom Tollbooth

Written by Norton Juster

Reviewed by Christopher C. (age 10)

Norton Juster wrote the book called The Phantom Tollbooth. The main characters are Milo, a boy, the Humbug and Tock, a dog that has clocks on his sides. The reason Tock's mother named him Tock is because his clocks always made the noise tock, tock, tock. This book is about Milo thinking that his own life is very boring.

One day Milo gets a tollbooth, he does not know whom it is from. He follows the directions that came with the tollbooth. He collects his money and car keys. He gets into his car and pays to enter the tollbooth. He ended up driving on a country road. The road leads to a kingdom called Dictionopolis. Outside the kingdom wall, he found a dog named Tock. He joined Milo and they went inside the kingdom. Inside, on the Dictionopolis streets, people were selling words. King Azaz, ruler of Dictionopolis, assigned Milo's group to rescue Rhyme and Reason, the princesses. The King made the Humbug join Milo's group. Off they go to Digitopolis, another kingdom. On the way they went to The Old City of Wisdom, The Forest of Sight, Conclusions and The Valley of Sounds. When they got to The Valley of Sounds, Milo helped the villagers get back their sound. He went to the Sound Fortress and sneakily took a word and went outside and put it in the cannon. He heard the word "but" in the cannon. Then the word blasted the Fortress and all the sounds came out. When Milo, Tock and the Humbug were lost in The Forest of Sight, Milo asked for directions from The Giant, The Midget, The Fat man and The Thin Man, (by the way they all look the same). He was trying to find out where they were. When they finally found the right way, they got lost again because Milo wanted to take the four miles and the Humbug wanted to go the other road. They met the Dodecahedron that told them the way to Digitopolis. When they got to Digitopolis, they found numbers. They ended up in the number mine where Digitopolis is. Then they went to the Mountain of Ignorance. There were lots of demons, such as The Dirty Bird and The Demon of Insincerity. When they were running away from the demons, they saw a lot of stairs leading up to the clouds. They climbed the stairs to the top and saw The Castle in the Air. When they finally got inside the Castle in the Air, they found Rhyme and Reason. The demons started to cut the stairs that supported the Castle in the Air. Before the stairs had fallen; Milo, Tock, Humbug, Rhyme and Reason luckily escaped from the castle. Later, Milo said good-bye and paid the tollbooth to get out.

I like this book because it has funny names such as Digitopolis and Dictionopolis. My favorite part was when Milo got stuck in prison and pushed a button, wall opened, and he walked out. I recommend this book because it will teach them that nobody has a boring life. My favorite character is Milo because he learns that life can be interesting, exciting and challenging.

Christopher C. is a student in Mr. Lee's 5th Grade Class
2000-2001