Book notes: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster

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How did I make it through my entire, book-saturated childhood and never read this book?

I don’t know. It’s a complete travesty.

But I got it from the local library and was reading it and my 10 year old daughter picked it up and got interested and now I’ve finished reading it and she’s begun reading it so Yay! For! Reading! Childhood! Books! As! An! Adult!

Here are a few quotes:

“I never knew words could be so confusing,” Milo said to Tock as he bent down to scratch the dog’s ear.

“Only when you use a lot to say a little,” answered Tock.


“But why do only unimportant things?” asked Milo, who suddenly remembered how much time he spent each day doing them.

“Think of all the trouble it saves,” the man explained, and his face looked as if he’d be grinning an evil grin–if he could grin at all. “If you only do the easy and useless jobs, you’ll never have to worry about the important ones which are so difficult. You just won’t have the time. For there’s always something to do to keep you from what you really should be doing, and if it weren’t for that dreadful magic staff, you’d never know how much time you were wasting.”


“It was impossible,” said the king, looking at the Mathemagician.

“Yes, indeed,” they repeated together; “but if we’d told you then, you might not have gone–and, as you’ve discovered, so many things are possible just as long as you don’t know they’re impossible.”