Children’s books are a wealth of knowledge that lasts with us far beyond our initial reading. One of my absolute favorite books as a child was The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. I still have the copy my father gave me for Easter in 1997 (I think!) I was 10 years old, and I fell head over heels for that crazy world. As an adult, I still manage to turn back to it for a bit of wisdom.
If you’ve never read The Phantom Tollbooth, pop over to your local library and pick it up today. You won’t regret it in the least! The essential premise of the story is a young boy named Milo, who is always bored with life, comes home to find a mysterious tollbooth in his bedroom. He hops into his toy car and drives through to a world where letters grow on trees, numbers are mined, and the Princesses of Pure Rhyme and Sweet Reason have been banished to the Castle in the Air (cue scary music!) by their warring brothers King Azaz and the Mathmagician. Milo with his friends Tock–the watchdog who ticks and the Humbug head off to rescue the princesses. Crazy adventures ensue filled with clever wordplay and a million life lessons.
Here are a few of my favorite quotes:
“Expect everything, I always say, and the unexpected never happens.”
“You must never feel badly about making mistakes … as long as you take the trouble to learn from them. For you often learn more by being wrong for the right reasons than you do by being right for the wrong reasons.”
“…many places you would like to see are just off the map and many things you want to know are just out of sight or a little beyond your reach. But someday you’ll reach them all, for what you learn today, for no reason at all, will help you discover all the wonderful secrets of tomorrow.”
“Just because you have a choice, it doesn’t mean that any of them ‘has’ to be right.”