As a nerdy adolescent I completely adored The Phantom Tollbooth. It had everything. A misguided youth. Dogs made of clocks. Evil beetles. An imaginary world made out of sayings.
There’s something about reading it again as an adult that you makes you think, “My god this is brilliant” and “I want to be a kid again.” Packed with meaning, symbolism, allusion, all that good stuff writers love, but in many ways it’s a reminder of how we once saw—and heard—the world. Being an at-times unwilling participant in the working world, I must say the words at time carry even more truth.
"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.
Mile thought this was quite the wisest thing he’d heard all day. “Come,” he shouted, “let’s see the market. It looks very exciting.”
– Excerpt from Chapter 3
So, get yourself a copy of the book and a cup of hot cocoa. And if you want to nerd out, here are some links:
An excellent Brain Pickings article on the Phantom Tollbooth. (Seriously, it’s very good, much better than what I have here!)
Phantom Tollbooth: Beyond Expectations. A documentary about Norton Jester (author) and Jules Feiffer (illustrator)
About Tock (taken from the Phantom Tollbooth: Beyond Expectations documentary project)