The Captain’s Log – the phantom tollbooth (Norton Juster)

Ahoy there me mateys!  I have noticed this evocative cover . . .


. . . time and time again since I was a young’un’.  But for reasons that escape me now, I never did pick it up.  But I have always had intentions to read it.  Well then two of me crew in rather quick succession wrote their thoughts about it and solidified me desire to read it.  And so I have.

For such a short book, it took me a rather long time to read because I had to savor it in delightful little bits.  This novel truly deserves the designation of a classic.  The story is silly and seemingly simple but oh what delightful use of language.  I loved the evocative illustrations by Jules Feiffer and how even the type on the page helps to tell the story.  It is the kind of book with clever layers that make it a lovely read for people of all ages.

A favourite quote:

“Do all those words mean the same thing?” gasped Milo. “Of course.” “Certainly.” “Precisely.” “Exactly.” “Yes,” they replied in order. “Well, then,” said Milo, not understanding why each one said the same thing in a slightly different way, “wouldn’t it be simpler to use just one? It would certainly make more sense.” “Nonsense.” “Ridiculous.” “Fantastic.” “Absurd.” “Bosh,” they chorused again, and continued. “We’re not interested in making sense; it’s not our job,” scolded the first. “Besides,” explained the second, “one word is as good as another—so why not use them all?”

I would like to visit the Doldrums where sleeping is a priority.  Wouldn’t ye want items on yer schedule like this:

“From 2:00 to 2:30 we take our early afternoon nap. “From 2:30 to 3:30 we put off for tomorrow what we could have done today. “From 3:30 to 4:00 we take our early late afternoon nap.

The language is literally delicious.  I wish I could have had a phantom tollbooth as a child!

Check out me two crew members effusive reviews that finally got me to read this one:

bookstooge @ bookstooge’s reviews on the road – who celebrated the 50th anniversary edition

the orangutan librarian – who revisited the Lands Beyond and discusses her thoughts about the trip

Goodreads has this to say about the novel:

Hailed as “a classic. . . . humorous, full of warmth and real invention” (The New Yorker), this beloved story -first published more than fifty years ago- introduces readers to Milo and his adventures in the Lands Beyond.

For Milo, everything’s a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he’s got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it’s exciting beyond his wildest dreams. . . .

To visit the author’s wiki page go to:

Norton Juster – Author

To buy the book go to:

the phantom tollbooth – Book

To add to Goodreads go to:

Yer Ports for Plunder List

19 thoughts on “The Captain’s Log – the phantom tollbooth (Norton Juster)

  1. Yay! I love that you loved it even though your first reading of it wasn’t as a child. I’m never sure how people will react to books that they didn’t grow up with. (For me, I grew up loving this book, and can’t imagine it any other way.)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The first mate has lots of books that he never read as a child that I try and get him to read. Like the Giver. He thought it was okay but said he had read too many similar ones. I think I got it at the right time in life because I still love it.
      x The Captain


      1. I’ve never read The Giver either! It’s on my TBR also, and I hope to get to it soon. It does seem that there are some books which need to be read at a certain age in order to fully appreciate them, though.


  2. Thank you for sharing my post! And Bookstooge was the one who initially got me excited about revisiting it 😀 I’m glad you really enjoyed this and ended up savouring it 😀 And I love the illustrations and definitely think it’s really clever and layered. Brilliant review!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I have to read this aswell some time, i hate that goodreads has become like movie trailers these days. Showing everything thatll happen in the book. Pisses me of… book still sounds like an interesting adult read

    Liked by 1 person

    1. In general I either don’t read the blurbs or wait a long while until I forget about them and then read the book. I like to be surprised. While this is marketed towards middle school these days, it is great for all ages. Besides I read what I want no matter what the age range says. I always have.
      x The Captain

      Liked by 1 person

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