Summer is the perfect time for one of my all-time favorite books. And I mean all-time. I read this as a kid, and every few years I pick it back up and devour it all over again. And it always feeds my soul like a crisp, cool spring on a stifling day. This book fed my passion for words and reading, and reading it again reminds me of who I always wanted to be.
The book: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster.
Milo is bored. He is bored at school. He is bored at home. He is bored on his walks to school and back to home. There is just nothing there to interest him. And then one day he heads home and finds a big cardboard box in his bedroom. He opens it up and finds a car, a tollbooth, and some change. He sets it all up, gets behind the wheel of the tiny car, and heads through the tollbooth. Instantly he is transported to a different place.
Milo meets Tock, a watchdog, and travels through the lands of Dictionopolis and Digitopolis. He jumps to Conclusions, an island in the Sea of Knowledge and gets lost in the Doldrums. He learns what it means to eat your words and conducts a sunrise. He meets a colorful cast of characters, like Officer Short Shrift and the Humbug, Discord and Dynne, the Whether Man, and the Senses Taker.
With mile-a-minute clever puns and the magic of that only a super-inventive author can create, The Phantom Tollbooth is a beautiful reminder of everything that life has to offer, everywhere, every moment. Read this book. Read it to your kids. Read it to your grandkids. Read it to yourself. Just read it, and remember the beauty and majesty of every moment.