Norton Juster: The Phantom Tollbooth

December 23, 2021

     A minor children’s classic about words and numbers; I was astonished to see it was 40 years since I bought this, which explained why it is falling to pieces, and it’s my second copy. I think we must have discovered it in my hippy days at university. Recalling enjoying reading it with a small boy I knew many years ago, I wondered how it might go down with my grandson who is very interested in numbers…

It’s a good and quite fast-paced read about a young boy who is bored all the time, and who finds himself taken on a weird trip to imaginary worlds… there’s as much, if not more, to appeal to adults as to children here, indeed a fair deal will pass today’s children by, I think, since we live in a very different age now. I was thinking about age, and while the plot might conceivably appeal to a seven year-old (so a while to wait for my grandson to grow older) a lot of the language and the concepts are rather more advanced than that. This is a shame, because the premise behind the book, which is to be observant, to notice things and to think about them (ie be a curious child) is an excellent one.

Another book which times have passed by, perhaps? Or another sign that time has passed me by? It is a good read, though.

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