full title The Phantom Tollbooth
author Norton Juster
type of work Novel
genre Young adult, Fiction, Fantasy
time and place written 1961; Hampshire, England.
date of first publication 1961
publisher Epstein & Carroll Associates
point of view The point of view is from a third person omniscient narrator who skips from character to character, revealing a number of characters' thoughts and actions.
tone The tone in the book is playful and fantastic. Though there are moments of serious danger, such as Milo's encounters with the demons of ignorance, the book reads mostly like a whimsical fairy tale.
tense Past tense
setting (time) Unclear, but relatively modern
setting (place) The Lands Beyond, a strange fantasyland.
major conflict To release the princesses Rhyme and Reason from imprisonment in the Castle in the Air.
rising action After Faintly Macabre tells him the story of the princesses' disappearance, King Azaz charges him with the mission of finding and releasing them.
climax After much travel and difficulty, Milo find the princesses and manages to get them out of the Castle in the Air. Once on the ground, the group is surrounded by hordes of demons.
falling action The armies of Wisdom, led by Azaz and his brother the Mathemagician route the demons and welcome Rhyme and Reason back to the land.
themes The value of education; appreciating the things of everyday life; learning to use common sense; escaping boredom
motifs Puns; gift giving.
symbols Rhyme and Reason, Milo's gifts, Tock
foreshadowing When he gives Milo his mission, Azaz tells him that there is a serious problem with the quest. However, he will only tell Milo about it once he has completed his journey. The secret, it turns out, is that Milo's mission is impossible.