KP Book Review: The Phantom Tollbooth

Looking back on my favorite childhood books, I see The Phantom Tollbooth standing proudly near the front of a long and delightful line. phantomtollbooth

Norton Juster’s fairytale (a better Alice in Wonderland than Alice in Wonderland) is like an old friend with whom you can have a tête-à-tête anywhere, anytime, because you’re just that tight. It’s a comfortable relationship, a fond one, and – as others who have fallen in love with the story can attest – pretty much indissoluble. One does not simply outgrow a book this good.

Our hero is Milo. Milo the Drab. Milo the Apathetic. Milo the Young, Restless, and Uninformed. What he mostly does is mope… until he assembles a magical tollbooth and drives through it into another world entirely. There he meets a watchdog named Tock, jumps to an island (it’s called Conclusions), becomes embroiled in a war between King Azaz of Dictionopolis and the Mathemagician of Digitopolis, and sets out to rescue the Princesses Rhyme and Reason. Along the way, he comes to understand an important truth: life is a wonder and a gift. Boredom? You don’t have the time for it.

If you’re wearing socks, this book will charm them off of you, and the wit is sharp enough to slay dragons with.

If you’re wearing socks, this book will charm them off of you, and the wit is sharp enough to slay dragons with. Juster’s gift for puns, wisecracks, and wordplay is such that adults will savor the humor as much or more than the children will. Scratchy illustrations by Jules Fieffer only add to the fun.

It was Lewis who said that “a children’s story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children’s story in the slightest.” By that standard, or any other standard worth considering, The Phantom Tollbooth isn’t simply a good children’s story: it’s one of the best.

Now I must excuse myself. There’s rereading to be done.

KP Book Review: Ender’s Game

Far and away, Science Fiction is my favorite genre to write. However, when it comes to reading Sci-fi, there’s a lot of…weird stuff out there. Not only that, but much of it is cliche or soaked to the bone in Humanism.  Because of this, my experience reading Sci-fi has been a mixed bag. That being said, Ender’s Game was definitely one of the gems.

I stumbled upon Ender’s Game after reading a book on writing Science Fiction by the same author, Orson Scott Card. Through reading his “how to” book, I discovered that Card himself had written an award winning Science Fiction novel, or rather, a series of novels: the Ender’s Game Series. I decided I wanted to read this Ender’s Game book. That way, I could see if Mr. Card really knows what he’s talking about. Does Orson Scott Card really know how to write a Science Fiction novel?  He does.

Ender’s Game is easily one of my favorite books, which makes it my pleasure to share with you this excellent review by Kingdom Pen subscriber, Corey Poff. For more reviews and insights, check out Corey’s blog: The Ink Slinger

Associate Editor

Reagan Ramm

Ender’s Game: A Book Review

by Corey Poff

In the futuristic world of Ender’s Game, an alien race has attacked Earth twice and almost destroyed mankind. To prepare for the next encounter, an international Battle School has been established, where the world’s most talented children are drilled in the arts of war. Their early training takes the form of “games”: simulated battles in null-gravity.

Enter Andrew “Ender” Wiggin: a genius among geniuses. His training begins at age six, and when he joins Battle School, his tactical prowess becomes obvious. With humanity’s survival in the balance, everything hinges on Ender’s ability to surmount every challenge he’s given. The authorities are determined to make him or break him. Ender will grow up fast.

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