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The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth


by Norton Juster

Milo Timeline and Summary

  • Milo is bored. There's no denying it.
  • So when he gets the tollbooth as a present, he decides to go through it, ending up in the lands beyond.
  • First, he explores the Doldrums. Everyone who lives there is bored and does nothing. Luckily, Milo meets the watchdog Tock, who helps him escape.
  • Milo and Tock go to Dictionopolis, where they meet the Spelling Bee and Humbug.
  • After a food fight, Milo ends up in jail, where he meets Faintly Macabre. She tells him that two princesses named Rhyme and Reason have been exiled from Wisdom.
  • Milo and Tock leave the jail and head over to the king's banquet, where people eat words. Naturally.
  • After the banquet, the king gives permission for Milo to rescue the princesses. And so, with Tock and the Humbug, Milo heads to Dictionopolis.
  • Milo and his friends have a few adventures on the way: Milo meets Alec Bing and learns about viewpoints; he meets an conductor whose orchestra plays colors; he meets Dr. Dischord and the DYNNE; and finally he ends up in the Valley of Sound, which is silent.
  • Milo goes into the valley's fortress and helps the sounds break free.
  • Before moving on, the group accidentally takes a sideways trip to the Island of Conclusions.
  • Then Milo and his friends meet the Dodecahedron and Mathemagician, at which point Milo learns about numbers and takes a side trip toward Infinity (he never does make it there).
  • Milo fools the Mathemagician into agreeing with King Azaz, and gets permission to rescue the princesses.
  • Milo and his friends climb toward the Mountains of Ignorance. They defeat three demons and a giant before making it to the Castle in the Air. To defeat each demon, Milo uses one of the gifts he had received earlier on his journey.
  • The Senses Taker tries to fool Milo and the others from getting into the Castle, but Milo accidentally breaks his spell with the fourth gift.
  • Milo and the others go into the castle and meet the princesses. And in the end, they all escape, thanks to some help from Wisdom's armies. Success!
  • Everyone celebrates for three days, but then Milo heads home, back through the tollbooth.
  • The next day, the tollbooth's gone, and Milo is ready to starting having some adventures on his own.