From 11:00PM PDT on Friday, July 1 until 5:00AM PDT on Saturday, July 2, the Shmoop engineering elves will be making tweaks and improvements to the site. That means Shmoop will be unavailable for use during that time. Thanks for your patience!
We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth

  

by Norton Juster

The Phantom Tollbooth Chapter 3 Summary

Welcome to Dictionopolis

  • Milo and Tock drive along together. Milo wants to know why Tock is named Tock when the sound he makes is "tick." Hmm, good question.
  • Tock is overwhelmed by emotion and relays his life story. He had a brother who was named Tick and only made the sound "tock." Ironically, the reverse happened to him.
  • He also explains the concept of time as he understands it. Turns out his family business is protecting time.
  • Milo and Tock keep talking about time until they get to Dictionopolis, which is a beautiful city. Actually, it's the type of place you'd read about in a fairy tale.
  • When Milo and Tock roll up, a man is standing outside Dictionopolis, guarding it.
  • He welcomes them, saying that it's the market day. He wants to know their reason for approaching.
  • Hmm. Milo doesn't have one.
  • So, after some digging around (literally, digging into the ground) the guard finds a reason (it's an object that says "WHY NOT?") and gives it to Milo. This is like his free pass into the city. How cool is this place?
  • Once Milo and Tock get in, five gentlemen greet them. The men take turns saying the same thing in five different ways. Huh?
  • They also welcome Milo and Tock to Dictionopolis, and introduce themselves as the king's cabinet. All together, the five guys talk like a cross between a dictionary and a thesaurus. They define and act out their words constantly. Sounds complicated.
  • The cabinet members tell Milo about the importance of individual words: they say that words grow in Dictionopolis' forest, and they explain how words are used in the country.
  • These strange dudes also invite Milo and Tock to the Royal Banquet.
  • Then Milo and Tock go off to explore.

People who Shmooped this also Shmooped...

Advertisement