When he passes through the tollbooth and arrives back home, he is shocked to learn that he was only gone for a few hours since weeks had passed during his adventures in Lands Beyond. Since he has nothing better to do, Milo hops in his toy car and picks a random destination from the map in the box.
Wordplay and math problems are strewn exuberantly, along with commentary on social ills wrought by ignorance and mental laziness. Fifty years later, cities are still alienating, adults still act foolishly, and Rhyme and Reason still seem banished.
Parents will appreciate the lesson the book teaches their kids. Then they meet the demon of insincerity, a Gelatinous Giant and a Senses Taker, who distracts them with pleasant sites, sounds and smells. The streets were full of wonderful things to see and the people would often stop to look at them.
My daughter is six. The two kingdoms remain, the Which says, but the city of Wisdom has fallen into disrepair, and there is no one to set things right. All seems lost, until the kings arrive together with their armies and scare away the demons. Different aspects will appeal to different kids -- some will find the puns hysterical, others will gravitate more to the math or Jules Feiffer's whimsical illustrations.
I loved the character of the soundkeeper. Sad to leave, but armed with newfound power of knowledge, Milo says goodbye and heads off. The Dodecahedron takes the travelers to see the Mathemagician, after giving them a tour through the Numbers Mine, where digits are pulled from the earth like jewels.