The Phantom Tollbooth

by Norton Juster, illustrated by Jules Feiffer

Copyright 1961.

Dr. Dischord, just before the Valley of Silence

"Are you a doctor?" asked Milo, trying to feel as well as possible.

"I am KAKOFONOUS A. DISCHORD, DOCTOR OF DISSONANCE," roared the man, and, as he spoke, several small explosions and a grinding crash were heard.

"What does the 'A' stand for?" stammered the nervous bug, too frightened to move.

"AS LOUD AS POSSIBLE," bellowed the doctor, and two screeches and a bump accompanied his response. "Now, step a little closer and stick out your tongues.

"Just as I suspected," he continued, opening a large dusty book and thumbing through the pages. "You're suffering from a severe lack of noise."

He began to jump around the wagon, snatching bottles from the shelves until he had a large assortment in various colors and sizes collected at one end of the table. All were neatly labeled: Loud Cries, Soft Cries, Bangs, Bongs, Smashes, Crashes, Swishes, Swooshes, Snaps and Crackles, Whistles and Gongs, Squeaks, Squawks, and Miscellaneous Uproar. After pouring a little of each into a large glass beaker, he stirred the mixture thoroughly with a wooden spoon, watching intently as it smoked and steamed and boiled and bubbled.

"Be ready in just a moment," he explained, rubbing his hands.