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Book Review: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

This is the book that taught me to love language. I first read it when I was about 9 or 10 years old and have re-read it several times since then. It was first published in 1961, which might make you think it's old fashioned and out-of-date, but it's one of those books that always feels timely.

The story is about a boy named Milo who is bored. See, it's already relatable for most kids! One day, a mysterious box appears in Milo's room. When he opens it, he finds a tollbooth (with some assembly required). After putting it together, he drives his toy car through it and into another land.

In the course of his journey, Milo meets unusual characters, many of whom take language quite literally. When someone jumps to a conclusion, they actually jump to the Island of Conclusions. A live orchestra plays the sunset, the marketplace sells letters, and the king hosts a feast where everyone literally eats their words.

Milo soon discovers that the kingdoms of letters and numbers are at war, and he must rescue the princesses, Rhyme and Reason, and bring them back to the world.

This is a wonderful book for reading together with your child. It's full of silly ideas and unusual concepts and provides numerous opportunities to discuss the multiple meanings that words can have.

Please check out The Phantom Tollbooth* and help your child discover a new favorite book. And don't forget to post a comment below, about this or any other book you've read and enjoyed.

*This link will take you to an affiliate page on Amazon. If you purchase the book through this link, Tiny Dog Reading will receive a small stipend.

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