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The Phantom Tollbooth
Due Date: 2/21/2018
Subject: Language Arts 6

This week we are reading a drama called, "The Phantom Tollbooth"  It is a very long drama that I have posted below.


Reading Skill:    Summary  A summary of a piece of writing is a restatement of the main ideas and most important points in the original work. To summarize a drama, first reread to identify main events. In your summary, include only major events that move the story forward. Present the events in the order in which they happened.


Litereary Analysis:   Dialogue in Drama

A drama is a story that is written to be performed. Like short stories, dramas have characters, a setting, and a plot that revolves around conflict. In dramas, however, these elements are developed mainly through dialogue, the words spoken by the characters. In the script, or written form of a drama, the characters’ names appear before their dialogue. Look at this example:

Katrina. I can’t believe you said that!

Wallace. I was only kidding.

As you read this drama, look for ways that the characters are developed through dialogue.



ignorance- lack of knowledge, ecucation or experience.

precautionary-  done to prevent harm or danger

unethical- not conforming to moral standards of a group

ferocious-wild and dangerous

misapprehension-  misunderstanding

unabridged- complete; not shortened.


The Phantom Tollbooth Act 1 by Susan Nanus  based ofn the book by Norton Juster



1. MILO’S BEDROOM—with shelves, pennants, pictures on the wall, as well as suggestions of the characters of the Land of Wisdom.

2. THE ROAD TO THE LAND OF WISDOM—a forest, from which the Whether Man and the Lethargarians emerge.

3. DICTIONOPOLIS—A marketplace full of open air stalls as well as little shops. Letters and signs should abound.

4. DIGITOPOLIS—a dark, glittering place without trees or greenery, but full of shining rocks and cliffs, with hundreds of numbers shining everywhere.

5. THE LAND OF IGNORANCE—a gray, gloomy place full of cliffs and caves, with frightening faces. Different levels and heights should be suggested through one or two platforms or risers, with a set of stairs that lead to the castle in the air.

                                                  ACT 1 Scene i

[The stage is completely dark and silent. Suddenly the sound of someone winding an alarm clock is heard, and after that, the sound of loud ticking is heard.]

[LIGHTS UP on the CLOCK, a huge alarm clock. The CLOCK reads 4:00. The lighting should make it appear that the CLOCK is suspended in mid-air (if possible). The CLOCK ticks for 30 seconds.]

CLOCK. See that! Half a minute gone by. Seems like a long time when you’re waiting for something to happen, doesn’t it? Funny thing is, time can pass very slowly or very fast, and sometimes even both at once. The time now? Oh, a little after four, but what that means should depend on you. Too often, we do something simply because time tells us to. Time for school, time for bed, whoops, 12:00, time to be hungry. It can get a little silly, don’t you think? Time is important, but it’s what you do with it that makes it so. So my advice to you is to use it. Keep your eyes open and your ears perked. Otherwise it will pass before you know it, and you’ll certainly have missed something! Things have a habit of doing that, you know. Being here one minute and gone the next. In the twinkling of an eye. In a jiffy. In a flash! I know a girl who yawned and missed a whole summer vacation. And what about that caveman who took a nap one afternoon, and woke up to find himself completely alone. You see, while he was sleeping, someone had invented the wheel and everyone had moved to the suburbs. And then of course, there is Milo. [LIGHTS UP to reveal MILO’S bedroom. The clock appears to be on a shelf in the room of a young boy—a room filled with books, toys, games, maps, papers, pencils, a bed, a desk. There is a dartboard with numbers and the face of the MATHEMAGICIAN, a bedspread made from KING AZAZ’s cloak, a kite looking like the spelling bee, a punching bag with the HUMBUG’s face, as well as records, a television, a toy car, and a large box that is wrapped and has an envelope taped to the top. The sound of FOOTSTEPS is heard, and then enter MILO dejectedly. He throws down his books and coat, flops into a chair, and sighs loudly.] Who never knows what to do with himself—not just sometimes, but always. When he’s in school, he wants to be out, and when he’s out, he wants to be in. [During the following speech, MILO examines the various toys, tools, and other possessions in the room, trying them out and rejecting them.] Wherever he is, he wants to be somewhere else—and when he gets there, so what. Everything is too much trouble or a waste of time. Books—he’s already read them. Games—boring. T.V.—dumb. So what’s left? Another long, boring afternoon. Unless he bothers to notice a very large package that happened to arrive today.

MILO. [Suddenly notices the package. He drags himself over to it, and disinterestedly reads the label.] “For Milo, who has plenty of time.” Well, that’s true. [Sighs and looks at it.] No. [Walks away.] Well . . . [Comes back. Rips open envelope and reads.]

A VOICE. “One genuine turnpike tollbooth, easily assembled at home for use by those who have never traveled in lands beyond.”

MILO. Beyond what? [Continues reading.]

A VOICE. “This package contains the following items:” [MILO pulls the items out of the box and sets them up as they are mentioned.] “One (1) genuine turnpike tollbooth to be erected according to directions. Three (3) precautionary signs to be used in a precautionary fashion. Assorted coins for paying tolls. One (1) map, strictly up to date, showing how to get from here to there. One (1) book of rules and traffic regulations which may not be bent or broken. Warning! Results are not guaranteed. If not perfectly satisfied, your wasted time will be refunded.”

MILO. [Skeptically.] Come off it, who do you think you’re kidding? [Walks around and examines tollbooth.] What am I supposed to do with this? [The ticking of the clock grows loud and impatient.] Well . . . what else do I have to do. [MILO gets into his toy car and drives up to the first sign.]


MILO. [Pulls out the map.] Now, let’s see. That’s funny. I never heard of any of these places. Well, it doesn’t matter anyway. Dictionopolis. That’s a weird name. I might as well go there. [Begins to move, following map. Drives off.]

CLOCK. See what I mean? You never know how things are going to get started. But when you’re bored, what you need more than anything is a rude awakening.

[The ALARM goes off very loudly as the stage darkens. The sound of the alarm is transformed into the honking of a car horn, and is then joined by the blasts, bleeps, roars and growls of heavy highway traffic. When the lights come up, MILO’s bedroom is gone and we see a lonely road in the middle of nowhere.]

Scene ii The Road to Dictionopolis.

[Enter MILO in his car.]

MILO. This is weird! I don’t recognize any of this scenery at all. [A SIGN is held up before MILO, startling him.] Huh? [Reads.] WELCOME TO EXPECTATIONS. INFORMATION, PREDICTIONS AND ADVICE CHEERFULLY OFFERED. PARK HERE AND BLOW HORN. [MILO blows horn.]

WHETHER MAN. [A little man wearing a long coat and carrying an umbrella pops up from behind the sign that he was holding. He speaks very fast and excitedly.] My, my, my, my, my, welcome, welcome, welcome, welcome to the Land of Expectations, Expectations, Expectations! We don’t get many travelers these days; we certainly don’t get many travelers. Now what can I do for you? I’m the Whether Man.

MILO. [Referring to map.] Uh . . . is this the right road to Dictionopolis?

WHETHER MAN. Well now, well now, well now, I don’t know of any wrong road to Dictionopolis, so if this road goes to Dictionopolis at all, it must be the right road, and if it doesn’t, it must be the right road to somewhere else, because there are no wrong roads to anywhere. Do you think it will rain?

MILO. I thought you were the Weather Man.

WHETHER MAN. Oh, no, I’m the Whether Man, not the weather man. [Pulls out a SIGN or opens a FLAP of his coat, which reads: “WHETHER.”] After all, it’s more important to know whether there will be weather than what the weather will be.

MILO. What kind of place is Expectations?

WHETHER MAN. Good question, good question! Expectations is the place you must always go to before you get to where you are going. Of course, some people never go beyond Expectations, but my job is to hurry them along whether they like it or not. Now what else can I do for you? [Opens his umbrella.]

MILO. I think I can find my own way.

WHETHER MAN. Splendid, splendid, splendid! Whether or not you find your own way, you’re bound to find some way. If you happen to find my way, please return it. I lost it years ago. I imagine by now it must be quite rusty. You did say it was going to rain, didn’t you? [Escorts MILO to the car under the open umbrella.] I’m glad you made your own decision. I do so hate to make up my mind about anything, whether it’s good or bad, up or down, rain or shine. Expect everything, I always say, and the unexpected never happens. Goodbye, goodbye, goodbye, good . . .

[A loud CLAP of THUNDER is heard.] Oh dear! [He looks up at the sky, puts out his hand to feel for rain, and RUNS AWAY. MILO watches puzzledly and drives on.]

MILO. I’d better get out of Expectations, but fast. Talking to a guy like that all day would get me nowhere for sure. [He tries to speed up, but finds instead that he is moving slower and slower.] Oh, oh, now what? [He can barely move. Behind MILO, the LETHARGARIANS begin to enter from all parts of the stage. They are dressed to blend in with the scenery and carry small pillows that look like rocks. Whenever they fall asleep, they rest on the pillows.] Now I really am getting nowhere. I hope I didn’t take a wrong turn. [The car stops. He tries to start it. It won’t move. He gets out and begins to tinker with it.] I wonder where I am.

LETHARGARIAN 1. You’re . . . in . . . the . . . Dol . . . drums . . . [MILO looks around.]

LETHARGARIAN 2. Yes . . . the . . . Dol . . . drums . . . [A YAWN is heard.]


LETHARGARIAN 3. The Doldrums, my friend, are where nothing ever happens and nothing ever changes. [Parts of the Scenery stand up or Six People come out of the scenery colored in the same colors of the trees or the road. They move very slowly and as soon as they move, they stop to rest again.] Allow me to introduce all of us. We are the Lethargarians at your service.

MILO. [Uncertainly.] Very pleased to meet you. I think I’m lost. Can you help me?

LETHARGARIAN 4. Don’t say think. [He yawns.] It’s against the law.

LETHARGARIAN 1. No one’s allowed to think in the Doldrums. [He falls asleep.]

LETHARGARIAN 2. Don’t you have a rule book? It’s local ordinance 175389-J. [He falls asleep.]

MILO. [Pulls out rule book and reads.] Ordinance 175389-J: “It shall be unlawful, illegal and unethical to think, think of thinking, surmise, presume, reason, meditate or speculate while in the Doldrums. Anyone breaking this law shall be severely punished.” That’s a ridiculous law! Everybody thinks.


LETHARGARIAN 2. And most of the time, you don’t, that’s why you’re here. You weren’t thinking and you weren’t paying attention either. People who don’t pay attention often get stuck in the Doldrums. Face it, most of the time, you’re just like us. [Falls, snoring, to the ground. MILO laughs.]

LETHARGARIAN 5. Stop that at once. Laughing is against the law. Don’t you have a rule book? It’s local ordinance 574381-W.

MILO. [Opens rule book and reads.] “In the Doldrums, laughter is frowned upon and smiling is permitted only on alternate Thursdays.” Well, if you can’t laugh or think, what can you do?

LETHARGARIAN 6. Anything as long as it’s nothing, and everything as long as it isn’t anything. There’s lots to do. We have a very busy schedule . . .

LETHARGARIAN 1. At 8:00 we get up and then we spend from 8 to 9 daydreaming.

LETHARGARIAN 2. From 9:00 to 9:30 we take our early midmorning nap . . .

LETHARGARIAN 3. From 9:30 to 10:30 we dawdle and delay . . .

LETHARGARIAN 4. From 10:30 to 11:30 we take our late early morning nap . . .

LETHARGARIAN 5. From 11:30 to 12:00 we bide our time and then we eat our lunch.

LETHARGARIAN 6. From 1:00 to 2:00 we linger and loiter . . .

LETHARGARIAN 1. From 2:00 to 2:30 we take our early afternoon nap. . .

LETHARGARIAN 2. From 2:30 to 3:30 we put off for tomorrow what we could have done today . . .

LETHARGARIAN 3. From 3:30 to 4:00 we take our early late afternoon nap . . .

LETHARGARIAN 4. From 4:00 to 5:00 we loaf and lounge until dinner . . .

LETHARGARIAN 5. From 6:00 to 7:00 we dilly-dally . . .

LETHARGARIAN 6. From 7:00 to 8:00 we take our early evening nap and then for an hour before we go to bed, we waste time.

LETHARGARIAN 1. [Yawning.] You see, it’s really quite strenuous doing nothing all day long, and so once a week, we take a holiday and go nowhere.

LETHARGARIAN 5. Which is just where we were going when you came along. Would you care to join us?

MILO. [Yawning.] That’s where I seem to be going, anyway. [Stretching.] Tell me, does everyone here do nothing?

LETHARGARIAN 3. Everyone but the terrible watchdog. He’s always sniffing around to see that nobody wastes time. A most unpleasant character.

MILO. The Watchdog?


ALL THE LETHARGARIANS. [Yelling at once.] RUN! WAKE UP! RUN! HERE HE COMES! THE WATCHDOG! [They all run off and ENTER a large dog with the head, feet, and tail of a dog, and the body of a clock, having the same face as the character the THE CLOCK.]

WATCHDOG. What are you doing here?

MILO. Nothing much. Just killing time. You see . . .

WATCHDOG. KILLING TIME! [His ALARM RINGS in fury.] It’s bad enough wasting time without killing it. What are you doing in the Doldrums, anyway? Don’t you have anywhere to go?

MILO. I think I was on my way to Dictionopolis when I got stuck here. Can you help me?

WATCHDOG. Help you! You’ve got to help yourself. I suppose you know why you got stuck.

MILO. I guess I just wasn’t thinking.

WATCHDOG. Precisely. Now you’re on your way.

MILO. I am?

WATCHDOG. Of course. Since you got here by not thinking, it seems reasonable that in order to get out, you must start thinking. Do you mind if I get in? I love automobile rides. [He gets in. They wait.] Well?

MILO. All right. I’ll try. [Screws up his face and thinks.] Are we moving?

WATCHDOG. Not yet. Think harder.

MILO. I’m thinking as hard as I can.

WATCHDOG. Well, think just a little harder than that. Come on, you can do it.

MILO. All right, all right. . . . I’m thinking of all the planets in the solar system, and why water expands when it turns to ice, and all the words that begin with “q,” and . . . [The wheels begin to move.] We’re moving! We’re moving!

WATCHDOG. Keep thinking.

MILO. [Thinking.] How a steam engine works and how to bake a pie and the difference between Fahrenheit and Centigrade. . .

WATCHDOG. Dictionopolis, here we come.

MILO. Hey, Watchdog, are you coming along?

TOCK. You can call me Tock, and keep your eyes on the road.

MILO. What kind of place is Dictionopolis, anyway?

TOCK. It’s where all the words in the world come from. It used to be a marvelous place, but ever since Rhyme and Reason left, it hasn’t been the same.

MILO. Rhyme and Reason?

TOCK. The two princesses. They used to settle all the arguments between their two brothers who rule over the Land of Wisdom. You see, Azaz is the king of Dictionopolis and the Mathemagician is the king of Digitopolis and they almost never see eye to eye on anything. It was the job of the Princesses Sweet Rhyme and Pure Reason to solve the differences between the two kings, and they always did so well that both sides usually went home feeling very satisfied. But then, one day, the kings had an argument to end all arguments. . . .

[The LIGHTS DIM on TOCK and MILO, and come up on KING AZAZ of Dictionopolis on another part of the stage. AZAZ has a great stomach, a grey beard reaching to his waist, a small crown and a long robe with the letters of the alphabet written all over it.]

AZAZ.Of course, I’ll abide by the decision of Rhyme and Reason, though I have no doubt as to what it will be. They will choose words, of course. Everyone knows that words are more important than numbers any day of the week.

[The MATHEMAGICIAN appears opposite AZAZ. The MATHEMAGICIAN wears a long flowing robe covered entirely with complex mathematical equations, and a tall pointed hat. He carries a long staff with a pencil point at one end and a large rubber eraser at the other.]

MATHEMAGICIAN.That’s what you think, Azaz. People wouldn’t even know what day of the week it is without numbers. Haven’t you ever looked at a calendar? Face it, Azaz. It’s numbers that count.

AZAZ. Don’t be ridiculous. [To audience, as if leading a cheer.] Let’s hear it for WORDS!

MATHEMAGICIAN. [To audience, in the same manner.] Cast your vote for NUMBERS!

AZAZ. A, B, C’s!

MATHEMAGICIAN. 1, 2, 3’s! [A FANFARE is heard.]

AZAZ AND MATHEMAGICIAN. [To each other.] Quiet! Rhyme and Reason are about to announce their decision.

[RHYME and REASON appear.]

RHYME. Ladies and gentlemen, letters and numerals, fractions and punctuation marks—may we have your attention, please. After careful consideration of the problem set before us by King Azaz of Dictionopolis [AZAZ bows.] and the Mathemagician of Digitopolis [MATHEMAGICIAN raises his hands in a victory salute.] we have come to the following conclusion:

REASON. Words and numbers are of equal value, for in the cloak of knowledge, one is the warp and the other is the woof.

RHYME. It is no more important to count the sands than it is to name the stars.

RHYME AND REASON. Therefore, let both kingdoms, Dictionopolis and Digitopolis, live in peace.

[The sound of CHEERING is heard.]

AZAZ. Boo! is what I say. Boo and Bah and Hiss!

MATHEMAGICIAN. What good are these girls if they can’t even settle an argument in anyone’s favor? I think I have come to a decision of my own.

AZAZ. So have I.

AZAZ AND MATHEMAGICIAN. [To the princesses.] You are hereby banished from this land to the Castle-in-the-Air. [To each other.] And as for you, KEEP OUT OF MY WAY! [They stalk off in opposite directions.]

[During this time, the set has been changed to the Market Square of Dictionopolis. LIGHTS come UP on the deserted square.]

TOCK. And ever since then, there has been neither Rhyme nor Reason in this kingdom. Words are misused and numbers are mismanaged. The argument between the two kings has divided everyone and the real value of both words and numbers has been forgotten. What a waste!

MILO. Why doesn’t somebody rescue the Princesses and set everything straight again?

TOCK. That is easier said than done. The Castle-in-the-Air is very far from here, and the one path which leads to it is guarded by ferocious demons. But hold on, here we are. [A Man appears, carrying a Gate and a small Tollbooth.]

GATEKEEPER. AHHHHREMMMM! This is Dictionopolis, a happy kingdom, advantageously located in the foothills of Confusion and caressed by gentle breezes from the Sea of Knowledge. Today, by royal proclamation, is Market Day. Have you come to buy or sell?

MILO. I beg your pardon?

GATEKEEPER. Buy or sell, buy or sell. Which is it? You must have come here for a reason.

MILO. Well, I . . .

GATEKEEPER. Come now, if you don’t have a reason, you must at least have an explanation or certainly an excuse.

MILO. [Meekly.] Uh . . . no.

GATEKEEPER. [Shaking his head.] Very serious. You can’t get in without a reason. [Thoughtfully.] Wait a minute. Maybe I have an old one you can use. [Pulls out an old suitcase from the tollbooth and rummages through it.] No . . . no . . . no . . . this won’t do . . . hmmm . . .

MILO. [To TOCK.] What’s he looking for? [TOCK shrugs.]

GATEKEEPER. Ah! This is fine. [Pulls out a Medallion on a chain. Engraved in the Medallion is: “WHY NOT?”] Why not. That’s a good reason for almost anything . . . a bit used, perhaps, but still quite serviceable. There you are, sir. Now I can truly say: Welcome to Dictionopolis.

[He opens the Gate and walks off. citizens and merchants appear on all levels of the stage, and MILO and TOCK find themselves in the middle of a noisy marketplace. As some people buy and sell their wares, others hang a large banner which reads: WELCOME TO THE WORD MARKET.]

MILO. Tock! Look!

MERCHANT 1. Hey-ya, hey-ya, hey-ya, step right up and take your pick. Juicy tempting words for sale. Get your fresh-picked “if’s,” “and’s” and “but’s!” Just take a look at these nice ripe “where’s” and “when’s.”

MERCHANT 2. Step right up, step right up, fancy, best-quality words here for sale. Enrich your vocabulary and expand your speech with such elegant items as “quagmire,” “flabbergast,” or “upholstery.”

MERCHANT 3. Words by the bag, buy them over here. Words by the bag for the more talkative customer. A pound of “happy’s” at a very reasonable price . . . very useful for “Happy Birthday,” “Happy New Year,” “happy days,” or “happy-go-lucky.” Or how about a package of “good’s,” always handy for “good morning,” “good afternoon,” “good evening,” and “goodbye.”

MILO. I can’t believe it. Did you ever see so many words?

TOCK. They’re fine if you have something to say. [They come to a Do-It-Yourself Bin.]

MILO. [To MERCHANT 4 at the bin.] Excuse me, but what are these?

MERCHANT 4. These are for people who like to make up their own words. You can pick any assortment you like or buy a special box complete with all the letters and a book of instructions. Here, taste an “A.” They’re very good. [He pops one into MILO’s mouth.]

MILO. [Tastes it hesitantly.] It’s sweet! [He eats it.]

MERCHANT 4. I knew you’d like it. “A” is one of our best-sellers. All of them aren’t that good, you know. The “Z,” for instance—very dry and sawdusty. And the “X”? Tastes like a trunkful of stale air. But most of the others aren’t bad at all. Here, try the “I.”

MILO. [Tasting.] Cool! It tastes icy.

MERCHANT 4. [To TOCK.] How about the “C” for you? It’s as crunchy as a bone. Most people are just too lazy to make their own words, but take it from me, not only is it more fun, but it’s also de-lightful, [Holds up a “D.”] e-lating, [Holds up an “E.”] and extremely useful! [Holds up a “U.”]

MILO. But isn’t it difficult? I’m not very good at making words.

[The SPELLINGBEE, a large colorful bee, comes up from behind.]

SPELLING BEE. Perhaps I can be of some assistance . . . a-s-s-i-s-t-a-n-c-e. [The Three turn around and see him.] Don’t be alarmed . . . a-l-a-r-m-e-d. I am the Spelling Bee. I can spell anything. Anything. A-n-y-t-h-i-n-g. Try me. Try me.

MILO. [Backing off, TOCK on his guard.] Can you spell goodbye?

SPELLING BEE. Perhaps you are under the misapprehension . . . m-i-s-a-p-p-r-e-h-e-n-s-i-o-n that I am dangerous. Let me assure you that I am quite peaceful. Now, think of the most difficult word you can, and I’ll spell it.

MILO. Uh . . . o.k. [At this point, MILO may turn to the audience and ask them to help him choose a word or he may think of one on his own.] How about . . . “Curiosity”?

SPELLING BEE. [Winking.] Let’s see now . . . uh . . . how much time do I have?

MILO. Just ten seconds. Count them off, Tock.

SPELLING BEE. [As TOCK counts.] Oh dear, oh dear. [Just at the last moment, quickly.] C-u-r-i-o-s-i-t-y.

MERCHANT 4. Correct! [ALL Cheer.]

MILO. Can you spell anything?

SPELLING BEE. [Proudly.] Just about. You see, years ago, I was an ordinary bee minding my own business, smelling flowers all day, occasionally picking up part-time work in people’s bonnets. Then one day, I realized that I’d never amount to anything without an education, so I decided that . . .

HUMBUG. [Coming up in a booming voice.] BALDERDASH! [He wears a lavish coat, striped pants, checked vest, spats and a derby hat.] Let me repeat . . . BALDERDASH! [Swings his cane and clicks his heels in the air.] Well, well, what have we here? Isn’t someone going to introduce me to the little boy?

SPELLING BEE. [Disdainfully.] This is the Humbug. You can’t trust a word he says.

HUMBUG. NONSENSE! Everyone can trust a Humbug. As I was saying to the king just the other day . . .

SPELLING BEE. You’ve never met the king. [To MILO.] Don’t believe a thing he tells you.

HUMBUG. Bosh, my boy, pure bosh. The Humbugs are an old and noble family, honorable to the core. Why, we fought in the Crusades with Richard the Lionhearted, crossed the Atlantic with Columbus, blazed trails with the pioneers. History is full of Humbugs.

SPELLING BEE. A very pretty speech . . . s-p-e-e-c-h. Now, why don’t you go away? I was just advising the lad of the importance of proper spelling.

HUMBUG. BAH! As soon as you learn to spell one word, they ask you to spell another. You can never catch up, so why bother? [Puts his arm around MILO.] Take my advice, boy, and forget about it. As my great-great-great-grandfather George Washington Humbug used to say. . .

SPELLING BEE. You, sir, are an impostor i-m-p-o-s-t-o-r who can’t even spell his own name!

HUMBUG. What? You dare to doubt my word? The word of a Humbug? The word of a Humbug who has direct access to the ear of a King? And the king shall hear of this, I promise you . . .

VOICE 1. Did someone call for the King?

VOICE 2. Did you mention the monarch?

VOICE 3. Speak of the sovereign?

VOICE 4. Entreat the Emperor?

VOICE 5. Hail his highness?

[Five tall, thin gentlemen regally dressed in silks and satins, plumed hats and buckled shoes appear as they speak.]

MILO. Who are they?

SPELLING BEE. The King’s advisors. Or in more formal terms, his cabinet.

MINISTER 1. Greetings!

MINISTER 2. Salutations!

MINISTER 3. Welcome!

MINISTER 4. Good Afternoon!

MINISTER 5. Hello!

MILO. Uh . . . Hi.

[All the MINISTERS, from here on called by their numbers, unfold their scrolls and read in order.]

MINISTER 1. By the order of Azaz the Unabridged . . .

MINISTER 2. King of Dictionopolis . . .

MINISTER 3. Monarch of letters . . .

MINISTER 4. Emperor of phrases, sentences, and miscellaneous figures of speech . . .

MINISTER 5. We offer you the hospitality of our kingdom . . .

MINISTER 1. Country

MINISTER 2. Nation


MINISTER 4. Commonwealth


MINISTER 1. Empire

MINISTER 2. Palatinate

MINISTER 3. Principality.

MILO. Do all those words mean the same thing?

MINISTER 1. Of course.

MINISTER 2. Certainly.

MINISTER 3. Precisely.

MINISTER 4. Exactly.


MILO. Then why don’t you use just one? Wouldn’t that make a lot more sense?

MINISTER 1. Nonsense!

MINISTER 2. Ridiculous!

MINISTER 3. Fantastic!

MINISTER 4. Absurd!


MINISTER 1. We’re not interested in making sense. It’s not our job.

MINISTER 2. Besides, one word is as good as another, so why not use them all?

MINISTER 3. Then you don’t have to choose which one is right.

MINISTER 4. Besides, if one is right, then ten are ten times as right.

MINISTER 5. Obviously, you don’t know who we are.

[Each presents himself and MILO acknowledges the introduction.]

MINISTER 1. The Duke of Definition.

MINISTER 2. The Minister of Meaning.

MINISTER 3. The Earl of Essence.

MINISTER 4. The Count of Connotation.

MINISTER 5. The Undersecretary of Understanding.

ALL FIVE. And we have come to invite you to the Royal Banquet.

SPELLING BEE. The banquet! That’s quite an honor, my boy. A real h-o-n-o-r.

HUMBUG. DON’T BE RIDICULOUS! Everybody goes to the Royal Banquet these days.

SPELLING BEE. [To the HUMBUG.] True, everybody does go. But some people are invited and others simply push their way in where they aren’t wanted.

HUMBUG. HOW DARE YOU? You buzzing little upstart, I’ll show you who’s not wanted . . . [Raises his cane threateningly.]

SPELLING BEE. You just watch it! I’m warning w-a-r-n-i-n-g you! [At that moment, an ear-shattering blast of TRUMPETS, entirely off-key, is heard, and a PAGE appears.]

PAGE. King Azaz the Unabridged is about to begin the Royal banquet. All guests who do not appear promptly at the table will automatically lose their place. [A huge Table is carried out with KING AZAZ sitting in a large chair, carried out at the head of the table.]

AZAZ. Places. Everyone take your places. [All the characters, including the HUMBUG and the SPELLING BEE, who forget their quarrel, rush to take their places at the table. MILO and TOCK sit near the king. AZAZ looks at MILO.] And just who is this?

MILO. Your Highness, my name is Milo and this is Tock. Thank you very much for inviting us to your banquet, and I think your palace is beautiful!

MINISTER 1. Exquisite.

MINISTER 2. Lovely.

MINISTER 3. Handsome.

MINISTER 4. Pretty.

MINISTER 5. Charming.

AZAZ. SILENCE! Now tell me, young man, what can you do to entertain us? Sing songs? Tell stories? Juggle plates? Do tumbling tricks? Which is it?

MILO. I can’t do any of those things.

AZAZ. What an ordinary little boy. Can’t you do anything at all?

MILO. Well . . . I can count to a thousand.

AZAZ. AARGH, numbers! Never mention numbers here. Only use them when we absolutely have to. Now, why don’t we change the subject and have some dinner? Since you are the guest of honor, you may pick the menu.

MILO. Me? Well, uh . . . I’m not very hungry. Can we just have a light snack?

AZAZ. A light snack it shall be!

[AZAZ claps his hands. Waiters rush in with covered trays. When they are uncovered, Shafts of Light pour out. The light may be ¬created through the use of battery-operated flashlights which are secured in the trays and covered with a false bottom. The Guests help themselves.]

HUMBUG. Not a very substantial meal. Maybe you can suggest something a little more filling.

MILO. Well, in that case, I think we ought to have a square meal . . .

AZAZ. [Claps his hands.] A square meal it is! [Waiters serve trays of Colored Squares of all sizes. People serve themselves.]

SPELLING BEE. These are awful. [HUMBUG Coughs and all the Guests do not care for the food.]

AZAZ. [Claps his hands and the trays are removed.] Time for speeches. [To MILO.] You first.

MILO. [Hesitantly.] Your Majesty, ladies and gentlemen, I would like to take this opportunity to say that . . .

AZAZ. That’s quite enough. Mustn’t talk all day.

MILO. But I just started to . . .


HUMBUG. [Quickly.] Roast turkey, mashed potatoes, vanilla ice cream.

SPELLING BEE. Hamburgers, corn on the cob, chocolate pudding p-u-d-d-i-n-g. [Each Guest names two dishes and a dessert.]

AZAZ. [The last.] Pâté de foie gras, soupe à l’oignon, salade endives, fromage et fruits et demi-tasse. [He claps his hands. Waiters serve each Guest his Words.] Dig in. [To MILO.] Though I can’t say I think much of your choice.

MILO. I didn’t know I was going to have to eat my words.

AZAZ. Of course, of course, everybody here does. Your speech should have been in better taste.

MINISTER 1. Here, try some somersault. It improves the flavor.

MINISTER 2. Have a rigamarole. [Offers breadbasket.]

MINISTER 3. Or a ragamuffin.

MINISTER 4. Perhaps you’d care for a synonym bun.

MINISTER 5. Why not wait for your just desserts?

AZAZ. Ah yes, the dessert. We’re having a special treat today . . . freshly made at the half-bakery.

MILO. The half-bakery?

AZAZ. Of course, the half-bakery! Where do you think half-baked ideas come from? Now, please don’t interrupt. By royal command, the pastry chefs have . . .

MILO. What’s a half-baked idea?

[AZAZ gives up the idea of speaking as a cart is wheeled in and the Guests help themselves.]

HUMBUG. They’re very tasty, but they don’t always agree with you. Here’s a good one. [HUMBUG hands one to MILO.]

MILO. [Reads.] “The earth is flat.”

SPELLING BEE. People swallowed that one for years. [Picks up one and reads.] “The moon is made of green cheese.” Now, there’s a half-baked idea.

[Everyone chooses one and eats. They include: “It Never Rains But Pours,” “Night Air Is Bad Air,” “Everything Happens for the Best,” “Coffee Stunts Your Growth.”]

AZAZ. And now for a few closing words. Attention! Let me have your attention! [Everyone leaps up and Exits, except for MILO, TOCK, and the HUMBUG.] Loyal subjects and friends, once again on this gala occasion, we have . . .

MILO. Excuse me, but everybody left.

AZAZ. [Sadly.] I was hoping no one would notice. It happens every time.

HUMBUG. They’re gone to dinner, and as soon as I finish this last bite, I shall join them.

MILO. That’s ridiculous. How can they eat dinner right after a ¬banquet?

AZAZ. SCANDALOUS! We’ll put a stop to it at once. From now on, by royal command, everyone must eat dinner before the banquet.

MILO. But that’s just as bad.

HUMBUG. Or just as good. Things which are equally bad are also equally good. Try to look at the bright side of things.

MILO. I don’t know which side of anything to look at. Everything is so confusing, and all your words only make things worse.

AZAZ. How true. There must be something we can do about it.

HUMBUG. Pass a law.

AZAZ. We have almost as many laws as words.

HUMBUG. Offer a reward. [AZAZ shakes his head and looks madder at each suggestion.] Send for help? Drive a bargain? Pull the switch? Lower the boom? Toe the line?

[As AZAZ continues to scowl, the HUMBUG loses confidence and finally gives up.]

MILO. Maybe you should let Rhyme and Reason return.

AZAZ. How nice that would be. Even if they were a bother at times, things always went so well when they were here. But I’m afraid it can’t be done.

HUMBUG. Certainly not. Can’t be done.

MILO. Why not?

HUMBUG. [Now siding with MILO.] Why not, indeed?

AZAZ. Much too difficult.

HUMBUG. Of course, much too difficult.

MILO. You could, if you really wanted to.

HUMBUG. By all means, if you really wanted to, you could.


MILO. [Also to HUMBUG.] Yeah, how?

HUMBUG. Why . . . uh, it’s a simple task for a brave boy with a stout heart, a steadfast dog and a serviceable small automobile.

AZAZ. Go on.

HUMBUG. Well, all that he would have to do is cross the dangerous, unknown countryside between here and Digitopolis, where he would have to persuade the Mathemagician to release the Princesses, which we know to be impossible because the Mathemagician will never agree with Azaz about anything. Once achieving that, it’s a simple matter of entering the Mountains of Ignorance from where no one has ever returned alive, an effortless climb up a two thousand foot stairway without railings in a high wind at night to the Castle-in-the-Air. After a pleasant chat with the Princesses, all that remains is a leisurely ride back through those chaotic crags where the frightening fiends have sworn to tear any intruder from limb to limb and devour him down to his belt buckle. And finally after doing all that, a triumphal parade! If, of course, there is anything left to parade . . . followed by hot chocolate and cookies for everyone.

AZAZ. I never realized it would be so simple.

MILO. It sounds dangerous to me.

TOCK. And just who is supposed to make that journey?

AZAZ. A very good question. But there is one far more serious problem.

MILO. What’s that?

AZAZ. I’m afraid I can’t tell you that until you return.

MILO. But wait a minute, I didn’t . . .

AZAZ. Dictionopolis will always be grateful to you, my boy, and your dog. [AZAZ pats TOCK and MILO.]

TOCK. Now, just one moment, sire . . .

AZAZ. You will face many dangers on your journey, but fear not, for I can give you something for your protection. [AZAZ gives MILO a box.] In this box are the letters of the alphabet. With them you can form all the words you will ever need to help you overcome the obstacles that may stand in your path. All you must do is use them well and in the right places.

MILO. [Miserably.] Thanks a lot.

AZAZ. You will need a guide, of course, and since he knows the obstacles so well, the Humbug has cheerfully volunteered to accompany you.

HUMBUG. Now, see here . . . !

AZAZ. You will find him dependable, brave, resourceful and loyal.

HUMBLE. [Flattered.] Oh, your Majesty.

MILO. I’m sure he’ll be a great help. [They approach the car.]

TOCK. I hope so. It looks like we’re going to need it.

[The lights darken and the king fades from view.]

AZAZ. Good luck! Drive carefully! [The three get into the car and begin to move. Suddenly a thunderously loud NOISE is heard. They slow down the car.]

MILO. What was that?

TOCK. It came from up ahead.

HUMBUG. It’s something terrible, I just know it. Oh, no. Something dreadful is going to happen to us. I can feel it in my bones. [The NOISE is repeated. They all look at each other fearfully as the lights fade.]

workbook pages for the week of Feb. 19
Due Date: 2/21/2018
Subject: Language Arts 6

Workbook pages due Friday, Feb. 23, 2018:  239, 240, 241, and 243

Narrative Writing
Due Date: 2/5/2018
Subject: Language Arts 6

This week we will be Scantron testing in the computer lab (2 days) as well as working on a narrative writing.  The prompts for the narrative writings are as follows:

1. Eleanor Roosevelt once said, "You must do the thing you think you cannot do." Write a narrative about a time when you did something you thought you could not do. Be sure to include specific details so that a reader can follow your story.

2. Think about a time when something unexpected happened. Write a narrative in which you tell about an unexpected event that happened to you or someone you know. Be sure to include specific details so that a reader can follow your story.

3. You have made a very important discovery–one that will make you famous throughout the world. Write a story in which you tell about your discovery and how you made it. Be sure to include details about the setting and any characters in the story, and be sure that your story has a beginning, a middle, and an end.

4. Think of your best day in school. What happened that makes this day stand out in your memory? Write a story for a friend that tells about what happened on this day in school.


The students are to choose 1 of the prompts listed above, and create a prewrite, rough draft, and final copy.  This will count as a major grade (60%) for this week.  We will not have a weekly reading selection test this week.

Due Date: 1/31/2018
Subject: Language Arts 6

Reading Skill:  Author's Style


An author’s style is his or her usual way of writing. You can see an author’s style in his or her use of the following elements:

Word choice (also called diction): Authors can use words that are formal or informal, fancy or plain, technical or ordinary.

Arrangement of words: Some writers prefer short sentences, whereas others write long, involved sentences.

Emotion/Tone: The author’s attitude toward a subject affects the way a work conveys its ideas.

Figurative language: Some writers use poetic language to present ideas in innovative ways. Others choose words so that every one means exactly what it says.

“Letter From a Concentration Camp” is a letter written by a fictional character named Jimbo. “Letter to Scottie” was written by a father to his daughter. As you will see, the letters reflect two very different styles. For each letter, use a chart like the one shown to note each author’s style.

Letter From a Concentration Camp by:  Yoshiko Uchida

Mailing Address: Barrack 16, Apartment 40 Tanforan Assembly Center San Bruno, California
Actual Address: Stable 16, Horse stall 40 Tanforan Racetrack
May 6, 1942

Dear Hermie:
          Here I am sitting on an army cot in a smelly old horse stall, where Mama, Bud, and I have to live for who knows how long. It’s pouring rain, the wind’s blowing in through all the cracks, and Mama looks like she wants to cry. I guess she misses Papa. Or maybe what got her down was that long, muddy walk along the racetrack to get to the mess hall for supper.
          Anyway, now I know how it feels to stand in line at a soup kitchen with hundreds of hungry people. And that cold potato and weiner they gave me sure didn’t make me feel much better. I’m still hungry, and I’d give you my last nickel if you appeared this minute with a big fat hamburger and a bagful of cookies.
          You know what? It’s like being in jail here—not being free to live in your own house, do what you want, or eat what you want. They’ve got barbed wire all around this racetrack and guard towers at each corner to make sure we can’t get out. Doesn’t that sound like a prison? It sure feels like one!
          What I want to know is, What am I doing here anyway? Me—a genuine born-in-California citizen of the United States of America stuck behind barbed wire, just because I look like the enemy in Japan. And how come you’re not in here too, with that German blood in your veins and a name like Herman Schnabel. We’re at war with Germany too, aren’t we? And with Italy? What about the people at Napoli Grocers?
          My brother, Bud, says the US government made a terrible mistake that they’ll regret someday. He says our leaders betrayed us and ignored the Constitution. But you know what I think? I think war makes people crazy. Why else would a smart man like President Franklin D. Roosevelt sign an executive order to force us Japanese Americans out of our homes and lock us up in concentration camps? Why else would the FBI take Papa off to a POW (1) camp just because he worked for a Japanese company? Papa—who loves America just as much as they do.
          Hey, ask Mrs. Wilford what that was all about. I mean that stuff she taught us in sixth grade about the Bill of Rights and due process of law. If that means everybody can have a hearing before being thrown in prison, how come nobody gave us a hearing? I guess President Roosevelt forgot about the Constitution when he ordered us into concentration camps. I told you war makes people crazy!
          Well, Hermie, I gotta go now. Mama says we should get to the showers before the hot water runs out like it did when she went to do the laundry. Tomorrow she’s getting up at 4:00 a.m. to beat the crowd. Can you imagine having to get up in the middle of the night and stand in line to wash your sheets and towels? By hand too! No luxuries like washing machines in this dump!
          Hey, do me a favor? Go pet my dog, Rascal, for me. He’s probably wondering why I had to leave him with Mrs. Harper next door. Tell him I’ll be back to get him for sure. It’s just that I don’t know when. There’s a rumor we’re getting shipped to some desert—probably in Utah. But don’t worry, when this stupid war is over, I’m coming home to California and nobody’s ever going to kick me out again! You just wait and see! So long, Hermie.

     Your pal,
     Jimbo Kurasaki


Letter to Scottie by: F. Scott Fitzgerald


La Paix, Rodgers’ Forge
Towson, Maryland

August 8, 1933

Dear Pie:
     I feel very strongly about you doing [your] duty. Would you give me a little more documentation about your reading in French? I am glad you are happy—but I never believe much in happiness. I never believe in misery either. Those are things you see on the stage or the screen or the printed page, they never really happen to you in life.
     All I believe in in life is the rewards for virtue (according to your talents) and the punishments for not fulfilling your duties, which are doubly costly. If there is such a volume in the camp library, will you ask Mrs. Tyson to let you look up a sonnet of Shakespeare’s in which the line occurs “Lilies that fester smell far worse than weeds.”
     Have had no thoughts today, life seems composed of getting up a Saturday Evening Post1 story. I think of you, and always pleasantly; but if you call me “Pappy” again I am going to take the White Cat out and beat his bottom hard, six times for every time you are impertinent. Do you react to that?
               I will arrange the camp bill.
               Halfwit, I will conclude.
     Things to worry about:
               Worry about courage
               Worry about cleanliness
               Worry about efficiency
               Worry about horsemanship
               Worry about . . .
     Things not to worry about:
               Don’t worry about popular opinion
               Don’t worry about dolls
               Don’t worry about the past
               Don’t worry about the future
               Don’t worry about growing up
               Don’t worry about anybody getting ahead of you
               Don’t worry about triumph
               Don’t worry about failure unless it comes through your own fault
               Don’t worry about mosquitoes
               Don’t worry about flies
               Don’t worry about insects in general
               Don’t worry about parents
               Don’t worry about boys
               Don’t worry about disappointments
               Don’t worry about pleasures
               Don’t worry about satisfactions
     Things to think about:
               What am I really aiming at?
               How good am I really in comparison to my contemporaries in regard to:
               (a) Scholarship
               (b) Do I really understand about people and am I able to get along with them?
               (c) Am I trying to make my body a useful instrument or am I neglecting it?
                              With dearest love,

P.S. My come-back to your calling me Pappy is christening you by the word Egg, which implies that you belong to a very rudimentary state of life and that I could break you up and crack you open at my will and I think it would be a word that would hang on if I ever told it to your contemporaries. “Egg Fitzgerald.” How would you like that to go through life with—“Eggie Fitzgerald” or “Bad Egg Fitzgerald” or any form that might occur to fertile minds? Try it once more and I swear I will hang it on you and it will be up to you to shake it off. Why borrow trouble?
                                 Love anyhow.


Study Guide for Test


Name___________________________________  Date________________________  Period_______

Study Guide for “Letters” test

1. Why does Jimbo begin his “Letter From a Concentration Camp” with both a mailing address and an “actual” address?

A. He gives Hermie two addresses where he can be reached.

B. He lets Hermie know where he left his dog, Rascal.

 C. He hopes to make Hermie laugh.

D. He wants to show Hermie that he is living in a horse stall.

2. In “Letter From a Concentration Camp,” Jimbo compares the camp to a

 A. racetrack.                    B. prison.                         C. classroom.                  D. war.

3. Based on this passage from “Letter From a Concentration Camp,” what can you conclude about Jimbo? But don’t worry, when this stupid war is over, I’m coming home to California and nobody’s ever going to kick me out again! You just wait and see!

A. He loves his home.                                                B. He is unable to think clearly.

 C. He wants to impress his friend.                         D. He has stopped thinking of himself as an American.

4. Which word best describes the writer’s style in “Letter From a Concentration Camp”?

A. formal                          B. conversational                          C. poetic             D. businesslike

 5. Which emotion most strongly affects Jimbo’s writing style in “Letter From a Concentration Camp”?

A. thankfulness                B. sadness                        C. anger                            D. confusion

6. In “Letter to Scottie,” the author writes that doing one’s duty

 A. is not as important as being happy.                  B. is important for adults, but less so for children.

C. is not as important as many people think.        D. is the most important goal that anyone can have.

 7. In “Letter to Scottie,” which of the following does Fitzgerald say his daughter should worry about?

 A. the past                       B. triumph                       C. cleanliness                   D. flies

8. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s primary purpose in writing “Letter to Scottie” is to

A. joke with his daughter about nicknames.        

 B. advise his daughter how to lead a worthwhile life.

 C. confide in his daughter about his problems as a writer.

D. make sure his daughter is doing her lessons. 

 9. Which word best describes the writer’s style in “Letter to Scottie”?

A. formal                          B. technical                      C. simple                         D. chatty

10. Which feeling most strongly affects the writer’s style in “Letter to Scottie”?

 A. anger                           B. pride                             C. affection                       D. regret

11. In “Letter From a Concentration Camp” and “Letter to Scottie,” each writer tries to

A. solve another person’s problems.                      B. amuse the reader of the letter.

C. make sense of a challenging world.                   D. express great sorrow.

12. In “Letter From a Concentration Camp” and “Letter to Scottie,” both writers express a desire for

A. a return letter.                          B. food.                             C. freedom.                      D. respect.

13. What is a major difference between the words Jimbo uses in “Letter From a Concentration Camp” and the words Fitzgerald uses in “Letter to Scottie”?

 A. Jimbo’s words are mostly ornate, while Fitzgerald’s words are mostly plain.

 B. Jimbo’s words are mostly informal, while Fitzgerald’s words are mostly formal.

 C. Every word Fitzgerald uses means exactly what it says.

 D. Most of Jimbo’s words have two or three different meanings

14. In his letter, Scottie's father wrote that he does not believe in misery. Which of the following is the best synonym for misery?

A. good ideas                   B. mysteries                    C. great sorrow               D. happiness

15. When Fitzgerald asks Scottie for more documentation of her reading in French, what does he want? A. evidence that she is reading in French                    B. the name of her French teacher

 C. photos of her fellow French students                             D. a map of Paris, France

16. Which word or phrase is closest in meaning to the word regret in this sentence? My brother, Bud, says the U.S. government made a terrible mistake that they’ll regret someday.

A. repeat                          B. feel sorry for               C. explain                         D. try to ignore

Essay 17. In his “Letter to Scottie,” F. Scott Fitzgerald writes: . . . I never believe much in happiness. I never believe in misery either. Those are thingsyou see on the stage or the screen or the printed page, they never really happen to you in life. In an essay, explain why Fitzgerald writes these words to his daughter. Then, explain whether Jimbo in “Letter From a Concentration Camp” would agree or disagree with Fitzgerald. Use information from both letters to support your ideas


Answer Key for Study Guide


1.       D

2.       B

3.       A

4.       B

5.       C

6.       D

7.       C

8.       B

9.       A

10.   C

11.   C

12.   D

13.   B

14.   C

15.   A

16.   B

17.     Student essays should explain that Fitzgerald tries to help his daughter see that life is not as dramatic, wonderful, or terrible as the lives of people in stories; that most of life is neither wonderful nor miserable but somewhere in between. Essays should explain that Jimbo would disagree with Fitzgerald’s ideas, because for Jimbo, life is miserable and he yearns for the happiness he formerly had. 





Summer Reading Assessment
Due Date: 8/16/2017
Subject: Language Arts 6

Students will take an AR test on their summer reading assignments Wednesday, Aug. 16th.  We will also be visiting the library that day, and checking out books.  Please make sure that if your child owes a fee from last year for a library book, it is taken care of on, or before Wednesday.  Otherwise, your child will not be able to check out a book until the fee is paid.

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