One of my favorite books I remember being read when I was young involved wordplay as I had never seen before. The story was so much fun that I often reread the book later on and read it to my own children when they were young. I’m wanting to share that with you now over the course of the next couple weeks and hope you get as much from the story as I did. If nothing else, this is a story replete with vocabulary.
The Phantom Tollbooth, written by Norton Juster is a classic in every sense of the word. First published in 1961. Initially, Mr. Juster had been given a grant of $5,000.00 to write a book with the subject theme being cities. It seems he made only struggling progress with that concept but all the while was writing adventures of a character named Milo. Eventually, that character and pieces of those stories culminated in what is now the Phantom Tollbooth.
This is a story concerning education and the laziness of the mind. It is done in such a playful way as to inspire even the most entrenched ignorance to dislodge itself and climb towards rectification. Education is a choice. It is a conscious effort to acquire knowledge and pursue practical application, reviewing the results, and correcting course. It is not public school. It is not college. It is not a passing of names, dates, and other various information from one generation to the next. Oh sure, that is a piece of education, but by no means its entirety. So many currently see formalized school as education. A farce. Organized knowledge being passed from one to the next is only the beginning. What it should be teaching us is How to think, not What to think. So that we may go out and seek real education from that starting point.
Real education is dynamic, changing, constantly in motion, and is the direct result of applied knowledge. Even then, what we learn is up to each of us. How will the results of that applied knowledge be used? How will we choose to act upon what we know now that we did not know before? Real education is a lifetime process which will never be complete.
Today we will start at chapter 1. In which we are introduced to a rather bored young man.