Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Because of A Book with Hannah Daniel

Today's Because of A Book guest is a blogger.  Please help me welcome Hannah Daniel to the blog!  Here is a little about her:

Hannah Daniel read everything she could get her hands on as soon as she learned how at age five, and she hasn’t stopped since. She continued her love of reading and writing with a journalism degree from The University of Texas. Now she writes for a company that helps people find an affordable dental insurance alternative and manages the 1Dental blog.

One of my favorite books growing up was “The Phantom Tollbooth,” by Norton Juster, published in 1961. It’s a fairy tale of the most peculiar kind, beginning when a little boy named Milo is bored and comes home from school to find a large package addressed to him. It contains a magical tollbooth, and as soon as he drives through it in his toy car, he’s off on an adventure.

Rather than running into your average dragon or evil stepmother, he faces foes like the Senses Taker and the very short Officer Shrift. His faithful companion is a “watchdog” named Tock with a large timepiece in his side. He must travel from Dictionopolis to Digitopolis and rescue the princesses Rhyme and Reason before discord and disharmony take over the Kingdom of Wisdom.

They run into many unusual characters along the way like the Dodecahedron, who has 12 faces, each with a different emotion. Many of his situations come from taking English idioms literally. For example, when he makes an assumption early in the trip, he is whisked over to the Island of Conclusions. He learns why it’s important not to jump there again, because it can get you into trouble.

The play on words is even more brilliant for adults than it is for children, who may just find it an interesting adventure story. I loved to read as a child, and my mother took the time to explain the plays on words to me. I reread it several times and got something new out of it every time. To this day, I love all the intricacies and idiosyncrasies of the English language. I owe that love largely to this book.

I love words, and I really enjoy writing – it’s part of my profession. The Phantom Tollbooth introduced me to the vast world of language, and how it is much bigger than it seems at first glance.

The pictures are some of the most charming I’ve ever seen, but this is no mere picture book. If you have any love whatsoever for letters or numbers and their nuances, the small novel will enchant you from page one.

About The Phantom Tollbooth:  This ingenious fantasy centeres around Milo, a bored ten-year-old who comes home to find a large toy tollbooth sitting in his room. Joining forces with a watchdog named Tock, Milo drives through the tollbooth's gates and begins a memorable journey. He meets such characters as the foolish, yet lovable Humbug, the Mathemagician, and the not-so-wicked "Which," Faintly Macabre, who gives Milo the "impossible" mission of returning two princesses to the Kingdom of Wisdom... 

Buy it at Amazon
Buy it at Powells
Buy it at Indiebound

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