Milo and the phantom tollbooth

Milo and the Phantom Tollbooth -- front cover imageMilo and the phantom tollbooth is an ingenious fantasy centering on Milo, a bored ten-year-old boy who finds a large tollbooth in his bedroom.

Tollbooth is on my Top-20 list at #16. For the "young-of-brain" of all ages.

Available at Amazon and not to be missed!

The rest of this post is copied directly from Wikipedia as at 1st January 2014:

Milo is a boy bored by the world around him; every activity seems a waste of time. He arrives home from school one day to find in his bedroom a mysterious package that contains a miniature tollbooth and a map of "the Lands Beyond". Attached is a note, "FOR MILO, WHO HAS PLENTY OF TIME".

He assembles the tollbooth, takes the map, drives through the tollbooth in his toy car, and instantly finds himself on a road to Expectations. He pays no attention to his route and soon becomes lost in the Doldrums, a colorless place where thinking and laughing are not allowed. However, he is found there and rescued by Tock, a "watchdog" with an alarm clock attached to him, who joins him on his journey.

Their first stop is Dictionopolis, one of two capital cities of the Kingdom of Wisdom. They visit the word marketplace, where all the world's words and letters are bought and sold. After an altercation between the Spelling Bee and the blustering Humbug, Milo, and Tock are arrested by the very short Officer Shrift.

In prison, Milo learns from Faintly Macabre, the history of Wisdom. Its two rulers, King Azaz the Unabridged and the Mathemagician, had two adopted younger sisters; Rhyme and Reason, whom everyone came to settle their disputes. All agreed that with Rhyme and Reason, nothing is impossible. Everyone lived in harmony until the rulers disagreed with the princesses' decision that letters and numbers were equally important. They banished the princesses to the Castle in the Air, and since then, the kingdom had neither Rhyme nor Reason.

Milo and Tock leave the dungeon and attend a banquet given by King Azaz, where the guests literally eat their words. King Azaz allows Milo and the Humbug to talk themselves into a quest to rescue the princesses. Azaz appoints the Humbug as a guide, and he, Milo, and Tock set off for the Mathemagician's capital of Digitopolis (called "Numeropolis" in earlier drafts[14]) to obtain his approval for their quest.

Along the way they meet such characters as Alec Bings, a little boy who sees through things and grows until he reaches the ground, and have adventures like watching Chroma the Great conduct his orchestra in playing the colors of the sunset.

In Digitopolis, their first stop is the mine where numbers are dug out and precious stones are thrown away. They eat subtraction stew, which makes the diner hungrier. (In the 2008 British Paperback edition, there is a recipe for Subtraction Stew. This is reprinted in p. 185 of the Annotated Phantom Tollbooth). The Mathemagician erases the mine with his magic pencil eraser, he and Milo discuss Infinity, and Milo proves to the Mathemagician that he must allow them to rescue the princesses.

In the Mountains of Ignorance, the three intrepid journeyers contend with lurking, obstructionist demons like the Terrible Trivium and the Senses Taker. After overcoming various obstacles and their own fears, the questers reach the Castle in the Air. The two princesses welcome Milo and agree to return to Wisdom. When the group leaves, Tock carries them through the sky because, after all, time flies. The demons chase them, but the armies of Wisdom repel them. The armies of Wisdom welcome the princesses home, King Azaz and the Mathemagician are reconciled, and all enjoy a three-day carnival celebration of the return of Rhyme and Reason, the princesses of the land.

Milo says goodbye and drives off, feeling he has been away several weeks. Ahead in the road he spots the tollbooth and drives through. Suddenly he is back in his own room, and discovers he has been gone only an hour.

He awakens the next day full of plans to return to Wisdom, but when he returns from school the tollbooth has vanished. A new note has arrived, which reads, "FOR MILO, WHO NOW KNOWS THE WAY." Milo is somewhat disappointed but looks around and finds that he lives in a beautiful and interesting world.

Available at Amazon. Click here to go there.


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cheesemeister said...

This is one of my favorite books of my youth. Brings a tear to my eye to remember it, but it's a good memory. Thank you! I'd like to read it again.

masterymistery said...

Cheesemeister, yes it's a great book, really feeds the imagination. Made me what I am today!