The Phantom Tollbooth Board Game

phantom tollbooth board game


Product Description

· Student Center Or Game Day Activity For Those Rainy Days!

· Gives Students More Chances For Positive Reinforcement

· Creative Problem Solving Strategies And Promotes Healthy Competition

· Students Working Independently And Cooperatively

· Addresses Individual Learning Styles

· Students Learn And Teachers Monitor


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phantom tollbooth board game

Tag Archives: The Phantom Tollbooth

The game is afoot.

First of all, wow. Hatchet is a fantastic book. Second of all, WOW ! Quinn’s game board was 3-dimensional! Thirdly, what amazing muse inspired him to create a game version of the book? The answer was Kandice Tomanek, his teacher. Clever Ms. Tomanek invited her class to design board games based on their favorite books. I asked if she would be willing to share a few more creations. The whole class voted for their Top 5, which I am delighted to present to you today, in no particular order.

PETER PAN Designed by Terra Donahue

Dice rolls move 4 players around the board. Some squares contains a symbol, others a number. If you land on a marked square, you must pick a card with the matching symbol or number and follow its instructions (be they good or bad). The game ends when a player reaches the “Finish Zone,” but the winner is the person who has collected the most gold balls.

I love the way the game board opens into Mermaid Lagoon and Pirate’s Bay. I love that all the famous Neverland landmarks are there. I love the ring of clouds around the top of the tallest mountain. I love the gorgeous compass. And I especially love the upended mermaid tails in the lagoon!

UPSIDE-DOWN MAGIC: STICKS AND STONES Designed by Ailey Cassidy-Jones

I’m not familiar with the Upside-Down Magic books, but I can absolutely appreciate that the game players are characters from the books (such cool little wooden boxes for each of them!). I also appreciate the math involved as you navigate the board and acquire and lose gems. That and Kitten Ball in the Gymnasium. I need to know what Kitten Ball is!

THE LANDS BEYOND Designed by Greta Smith

So, how much do you love that beautiful purple tollbooth? And the innovative take on dice roll navigation? As you get close to the Mountains of Ignorance, you’ll notice that the cards change from “Pick a Card” to “Demon Card” as well. So clever. And did you notice the Mathamagician’s pencil?

I can’t resist sneaking a couple Phantom Tollbooth connections in here. Click here to meet the author, and click here to visit Digitopolis, the city of math.

HATCHET Designed by Quinn Densmore

Not only is this board a total work of 3-dimesional art, I think Quinn really captured the uncertainty of Brian’s plight in the game play. Because sometimes Brian was just plain unlucky (plane crash, gut cherries, extremely territorial moose). Also, there’s no finish line. You wind your way back and forth through the wilderness until (hopefully) you are rescued. Very cool.


The details on this game are awesome. The players are characters from the book. Rebekah’s labeled the streets, the stores, and locations. There are nods to Bozo, potatoes, the Hoboken Inquirer , and Dr. Hsu Ting Feng. I tip my hat to you, Miss Bagwell.

Many thanks to Ailey, Greta, Quinn, Rebekah, and Terra for sharing their games, and to Kandice Tomanek for organizing the vote and sending the pictures (and just for being an awesome teacher)!

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Let’s Do The Numbers


Alas, the original number mine (which was artfully constructed by the Arts Council of Princeton ) wasn’t salvaged after the math event. This meant that Katie and I had to build our number mine from scratch. The first part of this post describes how we ran the event table. The second part describes how we build the mine.

At the event, kids would reach into the number mine and pull out a plain wooden number. I bought the numbers online from Woodcrafter, where they range in size, thickness, price, and font. I got the 4″ numbers that were 1/8th of an inch thick. Each number cost 56 ¢.


Find a big, flat box that isn’t too deep. You don’t want kids to have to reach too far down for the numbers – especially the little ones. We used a 34″ x 54″ inch box lid, and then attached 6 photo storage boxes to the bottom using hot glue and packing tape. This resulted in a mine that was 5″ deep. Here’s a shot of the underside.


Cut holes in the top of the box. We found it helpful to draw the holes before we started cutting. That way, we could be sure we weren’t cutting into any of the support boxes and we knew that the numbers would fit through the holes.


Create the rocky, craggy landscape of your mine. We bunched up big pieces of black bulletin board paper and attached them to the box with masking tape.


Now for the really, really messy part. Papier-mâché. We don’t have a sink in our work space, and the nearest bathroom is far, far away. So we wanted to create the smallest mess possible. In other words, we didn’t want to cook, mix, or blend any sort of papier-mâché paste (or dilute any glue). After a little research, we settled on liquid starch.

Below are our tools – 2 enormous jugs of liquid starch, 2 plastic roller trays, and 4 paint brushes (the bristle brushes worked better than the foam ones). Oh, and we also put a plastic tarp under the mine so we wouldn’t ruin the table.


Time to paint! We used this awesome textured-stone effects spray paint by Valspar. It’s fun, but pricey ($10 a can at Lowe’s). Our mine required 3 cans.


  • When dry and spray painted, paper towels become incredibly brittle. I poked a hole right thorough one section while merely tapping on it (we eventually covered the hole with the number 8).
  • The texture of the paper towel absolutely comes through in the end. So if your paper towels have little hearts embossed on them, you’re going to see little hearts under the paint.
  • The edges of the paper towels are clearly defined. Unlike the newspaper and the printer paper, you can definitely see the edges of the paper towel under the paint. So our rocky surface looked like, well, draped paper towels. You could even see the dotted perforations that separate the paper towels.


However, paper towels are what we used and their brittle weakness made me and Katie very, very nervous. We were positive that kids were going to put their hands right through the mine as they leaned in to select numbers.


The BiblioFiles Presents: Norton Juster

Norton Juster photo courtesy of Random House

Author photo courtesy of Random House

Just posted! It’s our first BiblioFiles webcast in front of a live audience, and our guest is Norton Juster, author of the legendary book, The Phantom Tollbooth .

Milo is a boy who doesn’t know what to do with himself, isn’t interested in much, and doesn’t see the point in anything. But when a mysterious package containing a toy tollbooth arrives in his room, everything changes.

Past the tollbooth are the Lands Beyond, which house places like Dictionopolis, the Valley of Sound, the Doldrums, Digitopolis, and the Mountains of Ignorance. Milo is soon joined by a pair of unusual travel companions, Tock and Humbug, as he attempts to bring Princesses Rhyme and Reason back to settle the warring kingdoms of Words and Numbers.

First published in 1961, The Phantom Tollbooth is wacky, smart, odd, fun, strange, and completely captivating. It is often compared to Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in terms of its intelligence, word play, and impact on children’s literature. Now, in over 50 years of publication, The Phantom Tollbooth , with its iconic illustrations by Jules Feiffer, has been analyzed in scholarly papers, quoted in dissertations, included in graduate classes, documented on film, read aloud in elementary school classrooms, passed along through generations of families, and newly discovered by young readers. It is, and will always be, a seminal book in the history of children’s literature.

In addition to The Phantom Tollbooth , Norton Juster has written The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics , Alberic The Wise and Other Journeys , As: A Surfeit of Similies , The Hello, Goodbye Window , Sourpuss and Sweetie Pie , The Odious Ogre , and Neville . In 2011, The Annotated Phantom Tollbooth , with introduction and notes by scholar Leonard Marcus, was released.

Follow this link to the BiblioFiles interview

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Lands Beyond

This game is an adaptation of candyland, based on the phantom tollbooth, for students who are blind or visually impaired..

Written by: Becky Hoffman

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phantom tollbooth board game

This is an adaptation of Candy Land based on The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Jester. This is a story about Milo, a young boy who is bored with life until he finds a tollbooth in his bedroom.  He pays the toll and he enters into the Lands Beyond, an imaginary world full of adventure and wordplay.   It is designed for students at the 5th grade level, although it can be adapted for other age groups.

This could be made with any game board, but Candy Land lends itself especially well.

phantom tollbooth board game

  • Candy Land or game board
  • velcro or tactile markers
  • introduction to game and directions in braille and large print (see attached)
  • braille and large print on cards
  • pawns with tactile markers to distinguish them
  • Read the story with the students and extensively study the plot, characters, etc.  They need to have a thorough understanding of the story in order for the game to make sense.
  • The students should be actively involved in the creation of the whole game, including the creation of the story, the introduction to the game, the directions, and ideas for adapting the board.
  • The object is to be the first player to reach the Castle in the Air and rescue the Princess of Sweet Rhyme and Princess of Pure Reason.
  • Place the cards in a box and mix them up.
  • Each player picks a pawn.
  • The youngest player goes first. Play then passes to the left.
  • On your turn, draw a card then move your pawn as directed.
  • Place the used card in the discard box.
  • Draw a card and follow the directions.
  • If you draw a word/picture/number card to the velcro beside that space.
  • The game board can be attached to a Lazy Susan, so that the players don’t knock the pieces over.
  • Any game board can be used.
  • The game doesn’t have to be played in one sitting, as it can take quite a long time to complete a single game.  You can write down where the students left off, or leave the board set up if you have the space.

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Someone should make a game about: The Phantom Tollbooth

Fare enough.

Who doesn't love a book with a map in the front of it? And here's one of the best. Look at that landscape - The Kingdom of Wisdom! Check it out, the Foothills of Confusion rising from the Sea of Knowledge. The Forest of Sight, the Mountains of Ignorance, and in the distance the Castle in the Air.

This is The Phantom Tollbooth, a book that I suspect will always feel like a bit of a secret, even though it's been made into films and TV shows and has sold over three million copies. It's a children's adventure, written by Norton Juster, who was an academic and an architect and was meant to be writing something else at the time. It was published in 1962 with wonderfully energetic sketches by Jules Feiffer, who was Juster's friend and - do I remember this correctly? - perhaps room-mate.

The Phantom Tollbooth tells the story of Milo, a young boy who, now I'm re-reading as an adult, is clearly suffering from ennui. Everything is boring and disappointing. He comes home one day to find a gift in his room - a tollbooth that he sets up and drives through in his little toy car.

The tollbooth takes him to the Kingdom of Wisdom. There's a narrative of sorts, but there's also just so much to see, so many places ot visit. The great city of Dictionopolis where words are grown on trees and sold at the market, the island of Conclusions, which I think you can only get to by jumping, and the Doldrums - I love the Doldrums. A sort of child's Valley of Ashes where you find yourself when you haven't been paying attention.

phantom tollbooth board game

Milo's adventure is all about learning to re-engage with learning, I think, but there's nothing of the textbook to the Phantom Tollbooth. Instead it seems honestly in love with words and numbers and order and disorder. Idioms come to life and a man conducts all the sounds of nature, or maybe the colours. It's a book that lives on in the memory where the details mingle.

When I was a kid, we had a copy of this book at my school - a really old sixties hardback with that thickened golden paper of old books. Much better than my naff paperback I have today. Anyway, the thing about the Phantom Tollbooth is that, back then, I read it the way I read most books. I dipped in and out, reading a chapter here, a few pages there, drawn by Feiffer's drawings and breaking off when I'd had enough. I don't know if I've ever read the entire thing from start to finish, although I'm pretty certain I've at least read the entire thing.

And it turns out that this is a pretty great way to experience this book, as a series of odd encounters, time flowing around them in unusual ways. Several years ago I played one of the Call of Duty campaigns backwards just because you could. My discovery was that it didn't really make that much of a difference to how much fun I had. Some things are sort of ideally hyper-textual I think: the order you find them in isn't that important. Or rather, it's important to ignore the standard order and find your own. It keeps you thinking. It keeps you out of the Doldrums.


  1. The Phantom Tollbooth Board Game by CURIOUS CAT

    phantom tollbooth board game

  2. The Phantom Tollbooth Board Game by DEARTEACH

    phantom tollbooth board game

  3. The Phantom Tollbooth Board Game by DEARTEACH

    phantom tollbooth board game

  4. The Phantom Tollbooth Board Game by CURIOUS CAT

    phantom tollbooth board game

  5. The Phantom Tollbooth Board Game by CURIOUS CAT

    phantom tollbooth board game

  6. The Phantom Tollbooth Board Game by DEARTEACH

    phantom tollbooth board game


  1. Page No.15: The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster (1929-2021)

  2. The Phantom Tollbooth

  3. The Phantom Tollbooth (1970)

  4. The Phantom Tollbooth, Chapter 9

  5. The Phantom Tollbooth (1970)

  6. The Phantom Tollbooth, Chapter 15


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