The Phantom Tollbooth
I recently reread The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster, one of my favorite books in elementary school. Published in 1961, with marvelous line drawings by Jules Feiffer, the book tells the story of Milo, a bored young boy who sees thinks that everything is a waste of time. He is given a gift of a magic tollbooth that allows him to explore new places and teaches him that the world is fascinating and beautiful.
Full of puns, logic puzzles and philosophical jokes, the novel is a great one to read and discuss with your child or with a class of children. It raises questions about perception (can you see sounds?), the nature of reality (what is infinity?), the meaning of life, knowledge and the mind, the power of words and numbers, nothingness, and the ways in which our perspectives construct the reality we think we know. Funny and exciting, the book is great fun and a philosophical treasure chest for young people.