The Phantom Tollbooth

I’m reading this aloud to my family right now, and I often find myself wanting to stop and just savor the style.  Somehow I just didn’t expect such absolutely excellent writing in a “nonsense” book. 

In fact, I just want to share some little snippets.  I don’t want to ruin the book for anyone, so I’ll try to keep to just a few.  First, he occasionally has a description that is positively poetic.

The sun was dropping slowly from sight, and stripes of purple and orange and crimson and gold piled themselves on top of the distant hills.  The last shafts of light waited patiently for a flight of wrens to find their way home, and a group of anxious stars had already taken their places. 

But the place where this guy really shines is in the plays on words (wonderful!) and the unexpected little twists that take you by surprise.  I’m not going to ruin our very favorite by sharing it, but here’s another that I liked.

“There is no such illness as lack of noise.”
“Of course not,” replied the doctor, “that’s what makes it so hard to cure.  I only treat illnesses that don’t exist:  that way, if I can’t cure them, there’s no harm done–just one of the precautions of the trade.”

And he sprinkles in little truisms that are wonderful,too.

You’ll find that the only thing you can do easily is be wrong, and that’s hardly worth the effort.” —the Mathemagician


“But why do only unimportant things?”
“Think of all the trouble it saves.  If you only do the easy and useless jobs, you’ll never have to worry about the important ones which are so difficult.  You just won’t have the time.”  —the Terrible Trivium

That last one can really make you think, can’t it? 

I was just wondering why NJ hadn’t written more books, and I’m delighted to find that are a couple more.  I may have to check them out and see if they’re as good as this one.



About dayuntoday

I'm a wonderer. I spend a lot of time mulling, pondering, and cogitating. This is just a place to park some of those thoughts.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to The Phantom Tollbooth

  1. BooksForMe says:

    I’ll have to check that out!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s