The story is about a little boy named Milo, who never wants to be where he is, but never cares to go anywhere else. One day he finds a toy toll booth in his room that transports him to a magical land filled with all sorts of amazing creatures. There is a WatchDog, Spelling bee, Math-a-magician and many other people. Milo sets off on a quest to rescue the princesses Rhyme and Reason. Along the way he encounters many perils and learns to use all his senses. He discovers that there are many wonderful things in the world and he can explore them all. It is a delightful story and masterfully executed.
The book focuses on wordplay and is very fun to read especially if you enjoy a good pun. There are many quotable lines throughout the story and some very thought provoking statements. One of my favorite lines from the book is said by Princess Reason, "What you can do is often a matter of what you will do." Another one by the same person is, "You often learn more by being wrong for the right reason than being right for the wrong reason." Both statements are simple yet so profound. Though it is a children's book, there are many lessons for adults to learn as well.
Stylistically the book is crafted well. The use of many adverbs really gives you the feel of being in the new land. The dialogue is well written and like I said the use of words is very appealing. Milo, himself, develops much throughout the story, but the rest of the characters are fairly flat and static. But I think you'll find that doesn't really matter much especially as you approach the end of the book.
Over all I was very impressed. I half expected to find a cheesy kids book, with juvenille jokes, but I am happy to say that I was wrong. The humor is elevated making this book a wonderful read for children and adults alike.
You can grab your copy of The Phantom Tollbooth here.