The book which changed the way I felt about reading in fourth grade was The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. The fun play on words and fantastical adventure of Milo and Tock was the beginning of my love of reading.
Milo, a young boy who finds no wonder or interest in the world comes home after school one day to find a large box in his bedroom. Upon putting together the tollbooth inside, Milo takes his car and drives into the Kingdom of Wisdom. Except since the exile of the Princesses, Rhyme and Reason, chaos and division reign. Milo, a watchdog named Tock, and Humbug, take on the quest to restore the princesses to the kingdom.
Their greatest dangers lie in the Valley of Ignorance where demons, such as Terrible Trivium, set their snares to thwart the rescue.
“If you only do the easy, useless jobs, you’ll never have to worry about the important ones which are so difficult. You just won’t have time. For there’s always something to do to keep you from what you really should be doing…why if you stay here, you’ll never have to think again, and with a little practice you can become a monster of habit too.”
The Phantom Tollbooth is exciting and humorous for readers of all ages. Younger children may not understand all the play on words, but they will enjoy the adventure. I’ve recently re-read the story and still love it. At just over two hundred and fifty pages, it’s a great read-aloud or chapter book for your third or fourth grader.
Juster, Norton. The Phantom Tollbooth. W. Ross Macdonald School Resource Services Library, 2015.
A fantastic read! The characters in this story are well thought out and believable. I fell in love with them instantly.
R.K. Lander did a brilliant job having her main character, Fel’annar, deal with racism and self-worth throughout the story. Readers can relate to these issues and are easily drawn into her struggle.
My only criticism has to do with the names of the characters. They were difficult to pronounce and some were given additional names which was confusing.
The plot is original and engaging from the start. The first chapter throws readers right into the action along with the warriors of the kingdom.
A wonderful and exciting read. I give Path of a Novice 4.5 out of 5 stars and am looking forward to the sequel.
Lander, R. K. Path of a Novice. 2017.
Sierra Peterson loves to dive into books, whether reading or writing them and can often be found in her book corner with a hot cup of coffee. But when she’s not there, she can be found playing guitar, having coffee with friends, or planting flowers in the greenhouse where she works part-time.
In light of the new Wrinkle in Time movie opening this weekend, I’m reviewing Many Waters, the fifth book in the Wrinkle In Time series by Madeleine L’Engle.
Meg and Charles Wallace’s twin brothers, Sandy and Dennys, accidentally end up in one of their father’s experiments in Many Waters. Instead of finding cocoa for their hot chocolate, the twins are tessered back in time and space to the days of Noah.
Sandy and Dennys get caught in the cosmic conflict between good and evil, defying the nephilim, listening to stars and seraphim, riding unicorns who appear only when you believe in them, and helping Noah and his family build the ark. When the first drops of water fall, they must find their way home.
Madeleine L’Engle respectfully takes on one of the Bible’s most widely known histories and adds her bit of fantasy. Many Waters takes readers on a wild ride where love always triumphs.
Earlier books in the Murray-O’Keefes series:
A Wrinkle in Time – Meg and Charles Wallace transcend the limits of time and space to save their father.
A Wind in the Door– To save her brother, Meg travels inside Charles Wallace.
A Swiftly Tilting Planet– When nuclear disaster threatens the earth, unicorns and the Murray family come to the rescue.
L’Engle, Madeleine. Many Waters. Square Fish, 2007.