Thursday, February 2, 2012

The Phantom Tollbooth

I think I have mentioned before that I am taking a Children's Literature class this semester, which I am super pumped about! We get to read and talk about children's books all semester. What book lover wouldn't love that? Anyway, I have finished The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster for that class, and today we had a book discussion about it, so I thought I'd share it with you.

So The Phantom Tollbooth is about a kid named Milo who finds a tollbooth in his room one day and goes through it to a wonderful world. A world of words. Honestly, if you are a word lover, I guarantee you that you will love this book. There are so many different puns and plays on words, and it will just make your word-loving mind sigh with happiness. It is a lovely little kid's book that both kids and adults can enjoy. Those are the best kinds of books, aren't they?

Today in class we were discussing if there are all these little plays on words, how do kids understand all this? I think it's because kids understand more than we think they do. This book is a good example. While there are words and concepts that kids most definitely understand, when it comes to seeing the whole picture, that doesn't really matter. The kids can understand what Milo can understand. They may not catch all the jokes and such that Juster is making, but they still enjoy this make-believe world that he has created. They find all the different characters and creatures amusing, and the illustrations help them to understand what is going on in the novel. As an adult reading the book, we may have a better appreciation of what Juster was getting at with his puns and plays on words, and in having this appreciation, we appreciate this book more as a whole. We realize the craft that went into creating this book, and we become astounded when we learn Juster wasn't an author for a living. He was an architect. That in and of itself teaches a lesson as well. It shows kids, and adults, that they can achieve their dreams if they just work at it. This book is a timeless book, and I think it's definitely one that I'm going to introduce to my own kids some day.

Now I will get back to reading It's Kind of a Funny Story by Ned Vizzini. I am enjoying it so far. I will let you know my complete opinions once I finish the book. :)