The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Own. Family Read-Aloud
We enjoyed reading The Phantom Tollbooth as our after-dinner read aloud. The sustained allegory instructing the reader on the importance of interacting with and learning about the world through words, numbers, sights, sounds, wisdom, and knowledge was a fun story to boot.
The children enjoyed the story and followed the plot pretty well, but I'm not convinced that they understood more than a third of the word play, much of the humor, or completely comprehended the point of the story (although we discussed it at the end, which helped). Definitely a book that could have waited several more years, and maybe less of a read aloud as a read alone (to catch the word play). They simply don't have the phrases in their heads that many of the jokes and puns were built upon at these ages.
This is not a subtle book, its agenda is clear (yes, I know I just said the children didn't totally get it, they are 6 and under), one must use the tools in the learning arsenal to gain rhyme and reason (read: wisdom) and defeat the myriad demons wishing to keep you in ignorance.
Overall, a fun read. I was laughing throughout and Jason was amused. I would recommend for 8 and up and maybe 10+ as a read alone.
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