Review: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

phantom tollbooth

Reviewed by First Mate Keira 

Title: The Phantom Tollbooth
Author: Norton Juster
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 256 pages
Grade Reading Level: Ages 8+

Summary: One day a bored Milo receives a package for assembling a Tollbooth. Having nothing better to do that day he does and takes his tiny electric kid car through it following instructions to get to the Lands Beyond – or more specifically the Kingdom of Wisdom. His first stop is Expectations, because you can’t go beyond Expectations without stopping there beforehand.


  • Adults will like it for the word play. I know I did. There’s a lot of it here and if younger kids are reading it some of the play on words and phrases will go right over their head without a little help explaining things. There’s always something funny to notice in the text.
  • Milo’s brief time in the Kingdom of Wisdom reveals quite soundly the need for Princesses Rhyme and Reason and so he sets off to rescue them from the banishment of their brothers the kings of Dictionopolis (city of words) and Digitopolis (city of numbers).
  • The fun side companions – Tock the Watchdog, the Whether Man (not to be confused with the Weather Man), Canby, and so on. I liked the witch in the Valley of Sound who talked too much for liking silence, too funny!


  • The Humbug. I don’t get why others like him – is he supposed to represent Milo’s beginning feelings in the book?
  • I wish the effort to reach the princesses had felt more epic, with more detail on the tasks along the journey, instead of a brief overview and lots of bumbling.

Last Minute Thoughts: A cute book, one you should definitely read to your kids!

Buy: The Phantom Tollbooth

Rating: 3.5 Treasure Chests

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1 Comment

  1. I sure enjoyed the book! And I just reviewed it today too.

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