The Phantom Tollbooth

Narrated by: Rainn Wilson, Norton Juster
Length: 4 hrs and 41 mins
5 out of 5 stars (854 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Hailed as "a classic...humorous, full of warmth and real invention" (The New Yorker), this beloved story - first published more than 50 years ago - introduces readers to Milo and his adventures in the Lands Beyond. 

For Milo, everything's a bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives through only because he's got nothing better to do. But on the other side, things seem different. Milo visits the Island of Conclusions (you get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! 

Somewhere along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from dull. In fact, it's exciting beyond his wildest dreams....

"I read [The Phantom Tollbooth] first when I was 10. I still have the book report I wrote, which began 'This is the best book ever.'" (The New York Times

"The Phantom Tollbooth is the closest thing we have to a modern Alice in Wonderland." (The Guardian

"The book lingers long after turning the final page.... A classic indeed." (Los Angeles Review of Books)

©1961 Norton Juster (P)2018 Listening Library

Critic Reviews

"You might not think that Wilson, best known for his role as the officious and creepy Dwight Schrute on The Office, would be the person to record a whimsical children's book, but he reads Juster's prose with all due lightness and verve, even managing to translate puns designed for the page.... The end point of this journey: Should you desire an audiobook of The Phantom Tollbooth, this is a fine one...." (The New York Times Book Review)

Editorial Review

By the time I found The Phantom Tollbooth as an adult, my appreciation for wordplay had already been firmly established. But Rainn Wilson (who you might remember as Dwight on The Office) fell in love with its fantasy world of words as a kid, and says it's still one of his favorite books. When I heard he’d be narrating this classic, I thought he’d be perfect. (He is.) And when I was offered the opportunity to chat with him, the only possible answer was yes. Listen in to find out about his favorite characters, a surprise guest narrator, and whether Rainn gets the last word. —Heather S., Audible Editor

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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A Favorite

This has long been one of my favorite book of all time, and I'm so happy it's now available as an audiobook, and of one great quality at that!

10 people found this helpful

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Worth the author intro alone!

This totally fed my inner children’s literature nerd! I often read along in my old paperback version to keep up with all the innuendo and tongue-in-cheek goodies!

9 people found this helpful

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Brought back great childhood memories

This audio book is awesome. Fantastic performance of a great book from my childhood. I couldn't stop and ended up finishing the book in one sitting.

6 people found this helpful

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Travaele into the Lands Beyond with Milo

This book is kind of a modern-day Version of Lewis Carroll’s Alice in Wonderland, only the main character goes into the lands beyond by means of a mysterious turnpike tollbooth. Take a trip with Milo as his boring life becomes an exciting adventure when he rides along the roads in the land of Expectations.. Accompanied by Tock the watchdog and the Humbug, they meet King Azaz and the Mathemagician who have to agree on disagreeing with each other in order for Milo to go on a quest to rescue the princesses, Rhyme and Reason.

This classic book not only takes you beyond your wildest imagination, but it also shows that sometimes you can make the impossible seem possible by sticking with your task the way Milo did. Don’t forget to check out the movie version of this book starring Butch Patrick. Just don’t get yourself caught in the Dull Drums.

Also recommended: Alice in Wonderland/Through the Looking Glass

2 people found this helpful

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My childhood favorite comes to life!

I absolutely loved this. Terrific inflection and fun throughout. I love that I can ride with Tock and Milo any time.

2 people found this helpful

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loved it

Similar to the movie but even better the fantastically crazy world Milo enters to free the Princess of Sweet Rhyme and Reason from the Castle In The Air.

1 person found this helpful

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My favorite book of idiomatic language.

The text stands the test of time and this audio version is engaging and fun although some of the word play is lost in the audio files. Great to practice sketchnoting and imagery with students because it does allow for one's own imagination.

1 person found this helpful

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A favorite really brought to life

To me this is a wonderful book and I am so glad Norton Juster wrote it. I love how he cleverly uses the English language to create this world and really bring your mind into some thought provoking questions. Rainn Wilson reads it so perfectly. Every image in my head was so clear I felt like I was on the journey with Milo.

1 person found this helpful

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Must have "been" a classic.

Struggled to listen. By chap 6 I couldn't handle the torture. The writing style is cute enough, and the narrator is delightful, but the story is as exciting as watching rain fall on a grey plate.

Thought this was a classic. Unfortunately, I found it to be classically boring; missing the point that a story for kids should be fun and entertaining to children.

1 person found this helpful

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  • M
  • 01-07-20

A Great Philosophical Story

What a great story. Children and adults will get a kick out of this classic. Logic plays a large role in the story, and it is a quite enjoyable listen. Rainn Wilson is an excellent narrator.

1 person found this helpful