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The Map of the Land Beyond

The Phantom Tollbooth
is a fantasy novel, written by Norman Juster, and published in 1961.

Milo, a boy who takes no interest in life, is anonymously sent a flat-packed tollbooth, and when he sets it up in his room and drives through it in his electric toy car, he is taken to a fantasy world where words grow on trees, numbers are mined, metaphors such as 'jumping to conclusions' aren't so metaphorical, and Rhyme and Reason are in need of rescuing. Accompanied by a literal watchdog named Tock, Milo sets out to rescue them...

Film Version

The Phantom Tollbooth Poster
Phantom tollbooth
To be determined...

Reader's Reviews


One of my favourite books as a child (well, later childhood; I think I read it when I was about 12) - the eccentric humour was largely lost on my Mum, but I thoroughly enjoyed it. I've just re-read it, several years later, and was pleased to find that it's one of those children's books that's still a good read when you've grown up a bit. --The Colclough 21:23, July 4, 2011 (UTC)


My 14 year-old daughter got this from the library, and recommended I read it. Both she and I enjoyed it a lot—the word play and the puns are very well worked throughout. One of my favourites is the Island of Conclusions, where you arrive suddenly (by jumping—think about it!), but you have to swim back to the mainland through the Sea of Wisdom.

I think the author might have intended this book to inspire a reader who thinks knowledge and learning is boring, but I'm afraid it will only appeal to those who are already converted. Never mind, it is a great read for anyone who enjoys the richness of our language.

I was surprised to find that it was written in the 1960s—I assumed from the cover that it was a recent book, and now I wonder why I never came across it when I was young. I'm sure it would have appealed to me then too...


I read a recommendation of this from an excerpt book and it sounded interesting. At first glance at the title, I would not usually get the book, as I avoid books with phantom in the title. I found it in the library a few days later and thought I try it and it was really good. My father and brother both read it after me and also found it a good read. I would recommend this book to children over 10 and adults as well! (Olivia Age 14)


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Parental Guidance

  • Reading Age: 12+
  • Reading Aloud Age: 12+

The main antagonists are the 'Demons of Ignorance' - manifestations of vices such as time-wasting, insincerity, compromise etc. The portion of the book in which they feature may be too dark for younger readers.

The wordplay will probably be lost on young children, and some of it will not come across well when being read aloud as it is based on homophones.

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