Monday, January 21, 2013

Dinner Train Book Club: The Phantom Tollbooth

 Hey friends...remember when I had a goal of reading 12 books I hadn't read ever, and writing recipes for all of them for your, my, our book club enjoyment?  Well...I have made it through 10.  And am slowly making my way through creating recipes for the rest!  Today, I give you the September pick: the Phantom Tollhouse.  Big, huge, resounding high-five to Hannah, who was willing to participate, even if it meant we didn't talk about the book, and instead she was forced to help cook and do my dishes.  Thanks, Hannah! Enjoy the recipe for The Phantom Tollbooth Synonym Buns (aka Pumpkin Cinnamon Sticky Buns), and my nonsense review of the book, below. 

Due to the fact that I might be the only person I know to have never read this, I'm going to do away with summarizing something you all pretty much know about.  Okay, well for those weirdos like me, it's about a boy named Milo, who is very bored.  When he discovers a magic tollbooth in his bedroom, he drives his toy car through to stave of said boredom, and finds himself on a great adventure, jumping around from the Island of Conclusions to the country of Dictionopolis, to the Doldrums, and to the country of Digitopolis, among others.  He meets a cast of unusual yet wise characters, saves Rhyme and Reason, and staves off his boredom, in under 256 partially illustrated pages.

Well, my friends, I really wanted to love this one.  I didn't not like it - in fact, I did like it.  I think it is possible I'm too much of a grownup cynic for the Phantom Tollbooth.  There were, however, moments, I did love!  I thought the book was overall, rather smart, clever, and at times, wry, in considering the youthful target audience.  It did feel a little, ahem, obvious as an adult, but hey - I see what you did there, Norton Juster (Seriously, is that a name or what?).  I loved the ample illustration, dispersed throughout the text.  There was a plethora of food to choose from, so I was torn between Digitopolis Alphabet Soup or Synonym Buns (mwaha!).  But mostly, I loved that despite the outlandish cast of characters, this is ultimately a story of simplicity - a exploratory journey that starts and ends in Milo's bedroom.  Is that a spoiler?  Whatever.  Truthfully though, I love this line:
Whether or not you find your own way, you're bound to find some way. (p. 20)
Hear, hear, Norton Juster!

And while we're at it, I recommend you find your way to at least three of these Synonym Buns (Pumpkin Cinnamon Sticky Buns):

What is a synonym for delicious?


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