Milo is a young boy, and he’s so bored. He doesn’t see the point. Of anything.
That’s really all that’s known about Milo when, on the first pages of “The Phantom Tollbooth,” the classic children’s book that just celebrated its 50th anniversary, he discovers a box in his bedroom — an unassembled tollbooth.
Immediately his adventure begins, a journey to warring city-states that isn’t about weapons and armies but about words and numbers.
“When I picked up that book, I really felt like I was Milo,” said Celeste Aronoff, an Overland Park grown-up who was 9 then, just about Milo’s age. “I wanted a tollbooth and a token to appear in my bedroom so badly.”
Aronoff easily can recall how the unengaged Milo meets the watchdog, Tock, his future sidekick, a dog with an embedded clock face that actually ticks rather than tocks. And their run-in with Officer Short Shrift, who is small of stature and quick to decide. And the encounter with the thinnest fat man in the world who also happens to be the fattest thin man in the world.
“It’s one of my top three books of all time,” Aronoff said.
With fans like Aronoff, and there are millions, author Norton Juster and illustrator Jules Feiffer are happy to continue the book’s anniversary celebration — festivities have spilled over into 2012. The book was first published in 1961. Juster and Feiffer will visit Kansas City for events Saturday and Sunday.
Read the complete story at kansascity.com