The Phantom Tollbooth

The Phantom Tollbooth

by

Norton Juster

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The spelling bee is a giant bee, about twice the size of Milo, who lives in Dictionopolis. He can spell any word correctly—and he often spells things he says as he’s speaking. The spelling bee and the Humbug are rivals, as the spelling bee doesn’t appreciate the Humbug’s disinterest in spelling.
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The Spelling Bee Character Timeline in The Phantom Tollbooth

The timeline below shows where the character The Spelling Bee appears in The Phantom Tollbooth. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4. Confusion in the Market Place
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Boredom, Beauty, and Modern Life Theme Icon
...that the voice is coming from an enormous bee. The bee introduces himself as the Spelling Bee . As he speaks, he spells his words. The Spelling Bee insists he can spell... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
This earns Milo’s admiration. The Spelling Bee explains that he used to be an ordinary bee, but then he realized he’d never... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Boredom, Beauty, and Modern Life Theme Icon
The Humbug says everyone loves him, including the king. The Spelling Bee insists that the Humbug hasn’t met the king and that the Humbug is a fraud.... (full context)
Chapter 7. The Royal Banquet
Boredom, Beauty, and Modern Life Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...talking and arguing; Milo recognizes many faces from the market place. The Humbug and the Spelling Bee are arguing in a corner, while Officer Shrift mutters “Guilty” as he wanders around. When... (full context)
Knowledge, Learning, and the Purpose of Education Theme Icon
Language, Wordplay, Fun, and Logic Theme Icon
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...meal of—” but before he can finish, waiters bring platters piled with edible squares. The Spelling Bee says the squares taste terrible. (full context)
Absurdity vs. Reason Theme Icon
...a cake to Milo that’s been iced with the words “THE EARTH IS FLAT.” The Spelling Bee muses that people used to swallow that one, but it’s not popular anymore. He nibbles... (full context)