Good-Bye, Mr. Chips

( 10 )


Mr. Hilton's classic story of an English schoolmaster.

A journey through a land where Milo learns the importance of words and numbers provides a cure for his boredom.

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Goodbye, Mr. Chips: A Novel

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Mr. Hilton's classic story of an English schoolmaster.

A journey through a land where Milo learns the importance of words and numbers provides a cure for his boredom.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Susie Wilde
Hero Milo "didn't know what to do with himself-not just sometimes, but always." One day he returns from school to find an easy to assemble tollbooth and when he drives through it, Milo finds wild adventures in Dictionopolis, the land of words; Digitopolis, the world of numbers, and many locations in between. He is on a quest in this nonsensical land to bring back the Princess of Sweet Rhyme and Pure Reason. The book is filled with wild characters like the Spelling Bee who spells more than he speaks. There are silly word plays like the time Milo makes a speech at dinner and is surprised to find out how he has to eat his words. Life philosophy is mixed with tons of punny, funny humor. He is so changed by his travels that when he returns home he is only momentarily disappointed when the tollbooth disappears. As Milo says, "there's just so much to do right here." A children's classic for parent and child to enjoy together.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316364201
  • Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
  • Publication date: 11/12/2001
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 148
  • Sales rank: 303,768
  • Product dimensions: 8.50 (w) x 5.50 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

James Hilton is the bestselling author of many beloved books that also became hit movies, including Lost Horizon, Goodbye, Mr Chips and Random Harvest. He was born in Leigh, Lancashire.and passed away in 1954 in Long Beach, California.

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Read an Excerpt

Chapter I: Milo

There was once a boy named Milo who didn’t know what to do with himself — not just sometimes, but always.

When he was in school he longed to be out, and when he was out he longed to be in. On the way he thought about coming home, and coming home he thought about going. Wherever he was he wished he were somewhere else, and when he got there he wondered why he’d bothered. Nothing really interested him — least of all the things that should have.

“It seems to me that almost everything is a waste of time,” he remarked one day as he walked dejectedly home from school. “I can’t see the point in learning to solve useless problems, or subtracting turnips from turnips, or knowing where Ethiopia is or how to spell February.” And, since no one bothered to explain otherwise, he regarded the process of seeking knowledge as the greatest waste of time of all.

As he and his unhappy thoughts hurried along (for while he was never anxious to be where he was going, he liked to get there as quickly as possible) it seemed a great wonder that the world, which was so large, could sometimes feel so small and empty.

“And worst of all,” he continued sadly, “there’s nothing for me to do, nowhere I’d care to go, and hardly anything worth seeing,” He punctuated this last thought with such a deep sigh that a house sparrow singing nearby stopped and rushed home to be with his family.

Without stopping or looking up, Milo dashed past the buildings and busy shops that lined the street and in a few minutes reached home — dashed through the lobby — hopped onto theelevator — two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight, and off again — opened the apartment door — rushed into his room — flopped dejectedly into a chair, and grumbled softly, “Another long afternoon.”

He looked glumly at all the things he owned. The books that were too much trouble to read, the tools he’d never learned to use, the small electric automobile he hadn’t driven in months — or was it years? — and the hundreds of other games and toys, and bats and balls, and bits and pieces scattered around him. And then, to one side of the room, just next to the phonograph, he noticed something he had certainly never seen before.

Who could possibly have left such an enormous package and such a strange one? For, while it was not quite square, it was definitely not round, and for its size it was larger than almost any other big package of smaller dimension that he’d ever seen.

Attached to one side was a bright-blue envelope which said simply: “FOR MILO, WHO HAS PLENTY OF TIME.”

Of course, if you’ve ever gotten a surprise package you can imagine how puzzled and excited Milo was; and if you’ve never gotten one, pay close attention, because someday you might.

“I don’t think it’s my birthday,” he puzzled, “and Christmas must be months away, and I haven’t been outstandingly good, or even good at all.” (He had to admit this even to himself.) “Most probably I won’t like it anyway, but since I don’t know where it came from, I can’t possibly send it back.” He thought about it for quite a while and then opened the envelope, but just to be polite.

“ONE GENUINE TURNPIKE TOLLBOOTH,” it stated — and then it went on:


“Beyond what?” thought Milo as he continued to read.


“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 use in paying tolls.

“One (1) map, up to date and carefully drawn by master cartographers, depicting natural and man-made features.

“One (1) book of rules and traffic regulations, which may not be bent or broken.”

And in smaller letters at the bottom it concluded:


Following the instructions, which told him to cut here, lift there, and fold back all around, he soon had the tollbooth unpacked and set up on its stand. He fitted the windows in place and attached the roof, which extended out on both sides, and fastened on the coin box. It was very much like the tollbooths he’d seen many times on family trips, except of course it was much smaller and purple.

“What a strange present,” he thought to himself. “The least they could have done was to send a highway with it, for it’s terribly impractical without one.” But since, at the time, there was nothing else he wanted to play with, he set up the three signs,




And slowly unfolded the map.

As the announcement stated, it was a beautiful map, in many colors, showing principal roads, rivers and seas, towns and cities, mountains and valleys, intersections and detours, and sites of outstanding interest both beautiful and historic.

The only trouble was that Milo had never heard of any of the places it indicated, and even the names sounded most peculiar.

“I don’t think there really is such a country,” he concluded after studying it carefully. “Well, it doesn’t matter anyway.” And he closed his eyes and poked a finger at the map.

“Dictionopolis,” read Milo slowly when he saw what his finger had chosen. “Oh, well, I might as well go there as anywhere.”

He walked across the room and dusted the car off carefully. Then, taking the map and rule book with him, he hopped in and, for lack of anything better to do, drove slowly up to the tollbooth. As he deposited his coin and rolled past he remarked wistfully, “I do hope this is an interesting game, otherwise the afternoon will be so terribly dull.”

From the Hardcover edition.

Copyright 1988 by Norton Juster
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 3.5
( 10 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 19 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2006

    Goodbye, Mr. Chips

    I thought Goodbye, Mr. Chips was a very well-written novel. It is not meant to be exciting or fast-paced, and focuses only on Mr. Chips' memories, but it allows the reader an emotional connection to Mr. Chips. I agree that it's a bit like The Dead Poet Society, but it also reminded me of Tuesdays with Morrie and A Separate Peace.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2003

    outstanding and very heartfelt

    This book is a wounderful book. It's very well writen in many ways. I found this book to be Inspiring. Mr. chips lost his wife and child and still found that he was not going to give up on his teaching. Loved it. Excellent and Magnificent and very well done. Anyone would love this book and they will find they loved it to. You got to read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 5, 2011

    Not Recommended

    I expected a full book not a 40 page summary.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 14, 2011

    So VERY good

    This book was made into a terrific movie in 1939, with the late great Robert Donat playing Chips, and is a delightful book to read. Some might think it's slow, but it's not. Granted the earlier movie version expanded upon this book, but it's just nice to read it.

    Oh, please, skip the AWFUL musical version that came out in the late 1960's. It did NOT do the book justice, and Mr. Hilton must spin in his grave everytime it's shown anywhere.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 27, 2008

    How is this a classic?

    I don't understand how this book became a classic. It has no plot, the story is extended through hours of pointless details, and no matter how long you keep waiting, nothing interesting ever happens. The only good thing that the author does is explain the character thoroughly, but that's not all that hard when you have 100 pages to do it. The book takes place in London, England for about 73 years as it follows Mr. Chip's life. Mr. Chip's life however, is extremely boring and extremely long. It was written decently but there was an awful plot and a very low entertainment level. I hope to never read another book like this again. If i were to sum this whole book up in just one sentence it would be the following. Well written, but the author has no apparent reason to be writing it and the plot (if you can find one) just spins in circles. Boring book.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2003

    Goodbye, Mr. Chips

    Goodbye, Mr. Chips BantamStarfire,1983,115pages, $0.20 James Hilton ISBN 0553273273213 It is not surprising that Mr. Chips, a teacher, is the main character of this book. As time goes on he becomes more amusing; however, throughout the book he has problems. Fortunately, Mr. Chips always thinks of a way to solve his problems. The person who changes Mr. Chip¿s life is Katherine, his wife. She makes his life easier for him by bringing more humor into his life. This book is funny, adventurous, and even though it is such an old book, it keeps you going. My favorite chapter in the book is the chapter with Ralston. Some parts of the book are hard to understand, but, if you are a really good reader, I would recommend this book to sixth graders and up.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2002

    Loved it!

    Good-bye Mr. Chips is a good book about a man reliving his life. It reminds me of The Dead Poet Society. I loved it!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2002

    Very sweet book

    I found the book though slow paced, very beautiful. Very simply it describes the story. But if you think over it, it just shows the greatness simplicity has..Beautiful is the apt word to describe it.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2001

    Heartwarming story

    If you're tired of a fast-paced, me first world, take an afternoon off with Mr. Chips and the other characters of this story. If you've come to a place in life where you can appreciate life's joys and treasure them, you'll love this book. Even if you haven't traveled the path of life very long, you can still enjoy the book if you let it show you how to value life's joys and live well, as a person of character and generosity, while you are still young. Also, I recommend the film of this novel starring Greer Garson and Robert Donat.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 9, 2001

    an okay book

    Good-bye Mr. Chips was o.k. It wasn't very interesting, and all it talked about was this teacher and his life living at an all boys school. A child might like it, but it is not for high school kids or older.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 10, 2001

    This book was great!

    I liked this book because it has a lot of surprises. If you like adventure stories, this book is for you.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 24, 2000

    Beautiful Novel

    This was one of the best books I have read over the summer. It takes us back to the school days. Mr. Chips was an interesting character in this story.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 30, 2000

    Very Slow

    This book was very boring to me. Its about an old man that used to teach school and has memories of his school teaching. Its supposed to be funny I think. I like books that have more action. The reason I read it was for a book report.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 6, 2000

    If You Can't Beat Them, Join Them, or READ THIS BOOK!

    A great novel that takes you back to the turning of the century. In this fun-filled, romantic, and enjoyable novel, you will find yourself unable to stop. Read this book for a report or for pleasure. You'll be glad-umph-that you did!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 23, 2000


    This book was so boring that it took me ten days to read. I mean talk about boring! This book was so boring that when I had trouble sleeping i just started reading this to put me to sleep! I swear I was asleep in 2 min. flat!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 8, 2000

    A Splendid and Heart Warming Classic

    This classic novel, penned by the incomparable James Hilton, takes the reader back to a simpler time. The story of Mr. Chips is a pleasant and most enjoyable experience. Truly, this will touch the heart of every reader.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 12, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted November 5, 2012

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2009

    No text was provided for this review.

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