"There was once a boy named Milo who didn't know what to do with himself -- not just sometimes, but always."
I don't remember when I first read this book. Or how often I've read it. But once upon a time, I gave it to a small relative, she took it along when they visited their grandfather, and she left it behind. Her parents assured her that he would send it to them. And he did. Eventually. In due course. You see, he made the mistake of starting to read, and then he had to finish it.
Milo arrives home from school one day to find a package which proves to contain a tollbooth. Hoping it will be interesting, since otherwise the afternoon will be very dreary, he sets it up and starts to drive his electric car through it -- and finds himself in a strange kingdom. Where he meets the Whether Man, Tock the Watch Dog, King Aziz the Unabridged, the Soundkeeper, the Mathmagician and many, many, many other -- striking characters. After a Which explains how Rhyme and Reason were banished, Milo finds himself on a quest to save them, which takes him through many marvels and oodles of word-play.