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The Phantom Tollbooth Chapters 3-4 Summary

Instructor: Candice Case

Candice teaches 1st grade and has a Master's Degree in Elementary Education.

In Chapters 3 and 4 of ''The Phantom Tollbooth,'' Milo and the Watchdog arrive in Dictionopolis. We also learn about the Word Market, and meet two new characters.

Chapter 3

The Wrong Name

In this chapter, we learn more about the character of the Watchdog. Milo is very grateful for the dog's help, and begins to ask more about the dog. The dog's name is Tock, and he goes ''ticktickticktick'' all day long.

When Milo asks why his parents didn't name him Tick, Tock becomes very sad. He explains that his brother was named Tick, but he said ''tocktocktocktock'' all day, and by the time his parents went to the town hall to change it, it was too late.

Tock's parents did not want to make the same mistake with their second child, and they assumed that this puppy, like his brother, would say ''tocktocktocktock.'' However, they were wrong again, and now the two dogs have the wrong names.

We also learn more about why Tock became a watchdog. He comes from a long line of watchdogs, and carried on the family tradition. The origin of time is explained by Tock. ''Once there was no time at all, and people found it very inconvenient. (Inconvenient means that it is hard, or not a good time to do something.) They never knew whether they were eating lunch or dinner, and they were always missing trains.''

Tock also tells Milo that people began to waste time, or not keep track of it. So, the job of watchdog was made so that this would not happen anymore.

Welcome to Dictionopolis

They reach Dictionopolis, where they are greeted by a gateman, who asks them if they are buying or selling for Market Day. When Milo doesn't understand, the gateman explains that they cannot get in without a reason, and that he may have an old one Milo can use. He gives Milo a sign that says ''WHY NOT?'' and allows the travelers through the gate.

They see a banner that says ''Welcome to the Word Market,'' where they meet five men who start to say many words that all mean the same thing. ''Greetings! Salutations! Welcome! Good Afternoon! Hello!''

They explain that the Word Market is held once a week so people can buy the words they need. ''Dictionopolis is the place where all the words in the world come from. They're grown right here in our orchards.''

Chapter 4

In this chapter, we see more of how Dictionopolis works with its buying, selling, and trading of words. There are many aisles of words to choose from. Milo debates buying some words so he can learn how to use them better. He chooses ''quagmire, flabbergast, and upholstery,'' but they are too expensive.

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