The Phantom Tollbooth

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The Phantom Tollbooth (1961) by Norton Juster and illustrated by Jules Feiffer, is a classic in children's literature. The story is a modern-day fairy tale about a bored boy named Milo who drives through a magic tollbooth and into a new and very different world.

Quotes[edit]

  • It seems to me that almost everything is a waste of time.
  • Whether or not you find your own way, you're bound to find some way. If you happen to find my way, please return it, as it was lost years ago. I imagine by now the toy is quite rusty.
  • There are no wrong roads to anywhere.
  • Well, since you got here by not thinking, it seems reasonable to expect that, in order to get out, you must start thinking.
  • Expect everything, I always say, and the unexpected never happens.
  • Why not? That's a good reason for almost anything - a bit used perhaps, but still quite serviceable.
  • Time is a gift.
  • The way you see things depends a great deal on where you look at them from.
  • There is much worth noticing that often escapes the eye.
  • If you want sense, you'll have to make it yourself.
  • Many of the things which can never be, often are.
  • You know that it's there, but you just don't know where - but just because you can never reach it doesn't mean that it's not worth looking for.
  • Whatever we learn has a purpose and whatever we do affects everything and everyone else.
  • But it's not just learning that's important. It's learning what to do with what you learn and learning why you learn at all that matters.
  • What you can do is often simply a matter of what you will do.
  • So many things are possible just as long as you don't know they're impossible.
  • You must never feel badly about making mistakes, as long as you learn from them.
  • "I can hardly see a thing," said Milo, taking hold of Tock's tail as a sticky mist engulfed the moon. "Perhaps we should wait until morning."
    "They'll be mourning for you soon enough," came a reply from directly above, and this was followed by a hideous cackling laugh very much like someone choking on a fishbone.
    "I don't think you understand," said Milo timidly as the watchdog growled a warning. "We're looking for a place to spend the night."
    "It's not yours to spend," the bird shrieked again, and followed it with the same horrible laugh.
    "That doesn't make any sense, you see--" he started to explain.
    "Dollars or cents, it's still not yours to spend," the bird replied haughtily.
    "But I didn't mean--" insisted Milo.
    "Of course you're mean," interrupted the bird, closing the eye that had been open and opening the one that had been closed. "Anyone who'd spend a night that doesn't belong to him is very mean."
    "Well, I thought that by--" he tried again desperately.
    "That's a different story," interjected the bird a bit more amiably. "If you want to buy, I'm sure I can arrange to sell, but with what you're doing you'll probably end up in a cell anyway."
    "That doesn't seem right," said Milo helplessly, for, with the bird taking everything the wrong way, he hardly knew what he was saying.
    "Agreed," said the bird, with a sharp click of his beak, "but neither is it left, although if I were you I would have left a long time ago."
    "Let me try once more," he said in an effort to explain. "In other words--"
    "You mean you have other words?" cried the bird happily. "Well, by all means, use them. You're certainly not doing very well with the ones you have now."
  • "Oh, this won't take a minute," the man assured them. "I'm the official Senses Taker, and I must have some information before I can take your senses. Now, if you'll just tell me when you were born, where you were born, why you were born, how old you are now, how old you were then, how old you'll be in a little while, your mother's name, your father's name, your aunt's name, your uncle's name, your cousin's name, where you live, how long you've lived there, the schools you've attended, the schools you haven't attended, your hobbies, your telephone number, your shoe size, shirt size, collar size, hat size, and the names and addresses of six people who can verify all this information, we'll get started. One at a time, please; stand in line; and no pushing, no talking, no peeking."

External links[edit]

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