Eric Hamell, August 6, 2014 (view all comments by Eric Hamell)
The first sizable book I ever read at age eight. Excellent for exciting an interest in learning because it converts abstractions that might otherwise bore a young mind into vivid concretes.
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Alfred A. Knopf Books for Young Readers -
by Rhianna Walton,
The Phantom Tollbooth is the story of Milo, a very bored boy who comes home one day to find a magical tollbooth in his room. When Milo drives his car through the tollbooth gate, he finds himself in the Lands Beyond, a country inhabited by living language in the forms of animals, magicians, royalty, mountains, seas, and cities. From Tock the Watchdog to the listless region of The Doldrums, Milo shakes off boredom as he pursues the kidnapped Princesses Rhyme and Reason and restores peace to the Lands (currently in the clutches of the warring princes, Azaz of Dictionopolis and the Mathemagician of Digitopolis, along with a pack of demons). What sets The Phantom Tollbooth apart from other wonderful swashbuckling middle-readers is that it's also about the transformative power of language: open a book (or drive through a "tollbooth") and even the dreariest day dissolves into the din and glory of adventure.
by Rhianna Walton
by Anna Quindlen, The New York Times,
" I read [The Phantom Tollbooth] first when I was 10. I still have the book report I wrote, which began 'This is the best book ever.'"
by The New Yorker,
"A classic....Humorous, full of warmth and real invention."
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