When SLJ's Top 100 list was being announced I confessed to never having read The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster. Many people told me I should. And I did. It was delightful.
Synopsis (from Goodreads):
For Milo, everything's a
bore. When a tollbooth mysteriously appears in his room, he drives
through only because he's got nothing better to do. But on the other
side, things seem different. Milo visits the island of Conclusions (you
get there by jumping), learns about time from a ticking watchdog named
Tock, and even embarks on a quest to rescue Rhyme and Reason! Somewhere
along the way, Milo realizes something astonishing. Life is far from
dull. In fact, it's exciting beyond his wildest dreams...
From the beginning Milo is a character you can recognize. His boredom is the sort every child knows and knows well. It is described in such delightful language too. Then there are his adventures, which really are an homage to words and language. A person could learn so much about English from reading this book and never quite realize that is what was happening. I loved the plays on words so much. I do wish I had read it as a child because I think it would truly have been a beloved book if I had.