Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth

Fall 2011 Fiction
Ages: 8 & Up
Author: Norton Juster
Illustrator: Jules Feiffer
ISBN: 978-0375869037
Hardcover Price: $24.00

The Phantom Tollbooth is a once in a lifetime book. At least it has been for me. Reading it as a child, I had the sense that I had just discovered a new world. Reading it as an adult, I know that I was right.

As proof, here are the 10 best things I learned from The Phantom Tollbooth:

1. "In this box are all the words I know…Most of them you will never need, some you will use constantly, but with them you may ask all the questions which have never been answered and answer all the questions which have never been asked. All the great books of the past and all the ones yet to come are made with these words. With them there is no obstacle you cannot overcome. All you must learn to do is to use them well and in the right places."

2. "The most important reason for going from one place to another is to see what's in between."

3. "You must never feel badly about making mistakes … as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons that you for being right for the wrong reasons."

4. To look at things from a different perspective.

5. To ask why not? "Ah, this is fine," he cried triumphantly, holding up a small medallion on a chain. He dusted it off, and engraved on one side were the words "WHY NOT?" "That's a good reason for almost anything - a bit used perhaps, but still quite serviceable."

6. Half baked ideas … "they're very tasty, but they don't always agree with you."

7. Silence has sounds; Sounds are visible

8. "You'll find that the only thing you can do easily is to be wrong, and that's hardly worth the effort."

9. "… one of the nicest things about mathematics, or anything else you might care to learn, is that many of the things which can never be, often are. …. Just because you can never reach it, it doesn't mean that it's not worth looking for."

10. The Phantom Tollbooth taught me the fun is in the learning itself.

Claire Green   ©2011 Parents' Choice
Claire is president of Parents' Choice Foundation and cofounder of Sandbox Summit®. She looks for toys and media that will unleash children's interests, and celebrate the fun of learning.

Look for this product at:
Random House Children's Books/Knopf

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