Exploring the Unknown

Exploring the Unknown
Offerings to the God of Speed

Saturday, January 6, 2018

A Brief Review of The Phantom Tollbooth By Joel Corbin

A Classic Book Issued To My Son's Grade 6 Class!
The book The Phantom Tollbooth, by Norton Juster, was first published in 1961 and republished again in 2005, by Random House. The book received very good reviews and over 3000 copies were sold since 1961. Norton’s roommate, Feiffer was a cartoonist and he inspired Norton to write his famous book. In the book, a young boy called Milo gets a package that contains a toy car, a tollbooth and a map. He builds the toy car, sets up the tollbooth and chooses a place on the map to go. The place he chooses is Dictionopolis. Even though Milo was gone for only one hour in real time, he was gone for days in the other land. The reason Milo gets the package, is so he can take time to do things and that nothing is meaningless. This text will examine the following subjects, friendship, the importance of time and the tollbooth along with the watchdog.


Friendship


Pic © Jules Feiffer
One of the topics in this book is friendship. I think one of the topics is friendship because Milo, Tock the watchdog and the humbug stick together through everything that they have been through. No matter how long the journey and no matter how many demons they met, they always helped each other. Even before the big journey Tock helped Milo get out of the Doldrums. "well" said the watchdog, "since you got here by not thinking, it seems reasonable, in order to get out, you should start thinking". [Juster, 2005, p. 31] The Humbug also volunteered to go with Milo and Tock. "since he knows the obstacles so well, the Humbug has cheerfully volunteers to go with you". [Juster, 2005, p. 86] Another reason is that tock saved everyone when he flew out the window of a floating castle. The last reason is that even though the Humbug was scared during many events in the journey he still stayed with his two friends, like when demons were chasing them through the woods or when the same demons were chasing them up the castle. Milo is the one that befriended the others and he also got them out of trouble like at the word market when there was a big fight with the humbug and the spelling bee and when the Mathimagician gave them a math problem to solve in order to pass. Not only did Milo solve the problem but he also boggled the Mathimagician himself and reasoning with a giant that was disguised as a mountain. If one of the friends was missing, the other two would have not been able to complete the dangerous journey.

You Always Have Time


The Bushwick Book Club
In this book, one of the most important subjects is that you always have time. This subject mostly has to do with Milo. I know this is one of the subjects because in the book Milo does not know what to do with himself or his life like when he said that "There is nothing for me to do, nowhere I’d care to go, and hardly anything worth seeing". [Juster, 2005, p. 11] He also said that "when he is in school he longs to be out, and when he is out he longs to be in". [Juster, 2005, p. 9] So Milo thinks that his life is pointless and everything he does is meaningless, but he then goes on his long journey and finds that everything is very meaningful, like the things and subjects that he is taught in school, like math, and English. He now knows this because he solves all sorts of math problems with the Mathimagician, when he is in Digitopolis. And he obviously needed to know his alphabet, and how to spell in Dictionopolis, which is ruled by King Azaz. Toward the end of the book, Milo knows more and more about the importance of time. He even said, when he finished his journey and was now safely home, that "I would like to make another journey soon, but there is just so much to do right here". (Juster, 2005, p. 256) So Milo now knows the importance of time.

The Tollbooth & The Watchdog


The Watchdog
Pic © Jules Feiffer
In this book, the two most important symbols are the Tollbooth and the Watchdog. The importance of the Tollbooth is that it is the gateway to the other land, were Milo, Tock and the Humbug would soon begin their adventure. The way Milo got the Tollbooth is that he got a package from a man whose name is not mentioned in the book. On the package, it said "one genuine turnpike Tollbooth.” [Juster, 2005, p. 12] In a way, the Tollbooth helps Milo find the importance of time because without it Milo would never have been able to cross over to the other land and he would never have been able to meet any of his good friends like, Tock the watchdog, or the Humbug, and, most importantly, he would never had been able to restore order to the other land, by bringing back Rhyme and Reason. The watchdog Tock, is similar to the Tollbooth because both things helped Milo to get through on his journey, and both things were not really from our world. One of the ways Tock the watchdog helped Milo on his journey is that he saved all of the people that were in the castle by flying out the window as Milo suggested. "Well, time flies, doesn’t it?" asked Milo “on many occasions! Barked Tock, eagerly jumping to his feet. I’ll take everyone down". (Juster, 2005, p. 236) Tock said. so, without Tock on the Journey, the two princesses’ Rhyme and Reason would have been stuck in the floating castle, along with Milo and the Humbug and they all would have drifted off to space.

Conclusion


The Phantom Tollbooth Map
Pic © Jules Feiffer
The biggest impact this book had on me is that you always have the time to do things and that you should never think your life and the things you do in it are pointless or meaningless. The things I liked in this book is the author took a lot of time describing exactly what each character looks like, so that you can really visualize the person. Like when the author introduced a new demon he took the time to point out what it was wearing or what it’s face looked like. He also had author's craft throughout the book, like when he got the package the words on the page describing what was inside it were in big bold letters. The parts I did not like was when it got a bit boring in some parts and it was just not the kind of book that I’m interested in, but that is not a very good reason, but, if you want a well written, humorous, action filled book this is the one to get. This is a very good book.

References


About Joel Corbin


Joel Corbin is presently in grade 6 here in Quebec, Canada. A Brief Review of The Phantom Tollbooth was written as part of an exercise for my son who will be starting a new school this January in grade 6. This was his very first book review and we thought parents and children alike would enjoy reading his review of the book.

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3 comments:

  1. That was a really good book report! Joel is writing well! Hope you like the pics I just sent of the boiler Chris is making. How much snow today? Lots of love to you all

    Chris & Bobbie

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  2. I HAVE NOT READ THIS BOOK BUT THAT BEING SAID, YOUR REVIEW OF THE BOOK SPARKS MY INTEREST. I DEFINATELY WILL PUT THIS BOOK AND AUTHOR ON MY READING LIST.
    THE THEME OF FRIENDSHIP AND HOW TO MANAGE ONES TIME IS A UNIVERSAL QUEST FOR MOST PEOPLE. WE ALWAYS SEEM TO BE RUNNING OUT OF TIME WHEN WE ARE HAVING FUN OR HAVE TOO MUCH TIME WHEN LIFE IS BORING.
    I REALLY ENJOYED READING YOUR REVIEW.YOU DID VERY WELL.BRAVO!!!! I AM LOOKING FORWARD TO READING THIS BOOK AND DISCOVERING A NEW AUTHOR.
    GOOD LUCK ON YOUR NEXT ADVENTURE IN YOUR NEW SCHOOL. GRANDAD MIKE

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  3. The kid is super smart, and I am proud of him! I should have had his smarts when I was eleven!

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