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Our first chapter introduces Milo, who's a pretty grumpy guy. He's bored with his school and with life more generally: nothing's exciting or interesting. He has a lot of privileges, but they all seem kind of bland.
He uses his stroll home from a day of classes to think about how life kind of sucks. He seems pretty down in the dumps.
When he gets home, he goes to his room and feels like he has nothing to do.
But then he spots a mystery box in the corner of his room. It's a huge present, and he totally wasn't expecting anything of the kind. Awesome.
The box has his name on it, and there's a card attached: it says that inside the package are a tollbooth, signs, coins, a map, and a volume of traffic laws. Hmmm.
He opens the box and, sure enough, there's a tollbooth inside, but not all put together yet (kind of like something from Ikea).
Milo puts the contraption together and then displays the three signs. He consults the map and finds it sort of strange: it's very complete, but the countryside it describes is one he's never seen or heard of. Strange, indeed.
Oh well. He looks on the map and decides to travel to a place called Dictionopolis. He uses a toy car (it's large enough that he can sit in it), and heads through the tollbooth. Off he goes.