The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth

by

Norton Juster

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on The Phantom Tollbooth can help.
Milo meets the child on the staircase leading to infinity. The child isn’t a whole child; rather, he’s .58 of a child and so is just over half of a child’s left side. He loves averages—this is why he’s only .58 of a child, as average families have 2.58 children.

The Child Quotes in The Phantom Tollbooth

The The Phantom Tollbooth quotes below are all either spoken by The Child or refer to The Child. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Bullseye Books edition of The Phantom Tollbooth published in 1988.
Chapter 16. A Very Dirty Bird Quotes

“But that can never be,” said Milo, jumping to his feet.

“Don’t be too sure,” said the child patiently, “for one of the nicest things about mathematics, or anything else you might care to learn, is that many of the things which can never be, often are. You see,” he went on, “it’s very much like your trying to reach Infinity. You know that it’s there, but you just don’t know where—but just because you can never reach it doesn’t mean that it’s not worth looking for.”

Related Characters: Milo (speaker), The Child (speaker)
Page Number: 197
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire The Phantom Tollbooth LitChart as a printable PDF.
The Phantom Tollbooth PDF

The Child Character Timeline in The Phantom Tollbooth

The timeline below shows where the character The Child appears in The Phantom Tollbooth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 16. A Very Dirty Bird
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Boredom, Beauty, and Modern Life Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...manage to make ends meet.” Milo looks up to see the left half of a child. When Milo says he’s never seen half a child before, the boy says he’s actually... (full context)
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Boredom, Beauty, and Modern Life Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
Milo insists that averages are just imaginary, but the child disagrees. He points out that if Milo had no money but was with other people... (full context)