The Polar Express and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
Have one to sell? Sell on Amazon
Flip to back Flip to front
Listen Playing... Paused   You're listening to a sample of the Audible audio edition.
Learn more
See all 2 images

The Polar Express. Written and Illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg Paperback – September 1, 2010


See all 50 formats and editions Hide other formats and editions
Amazon Price New from Used from
Kindle
"Please retry"
Paperback, September 1, 2010
$123.28 $5.90

There is a newer edition of this item:

100%20Children%27s%20Books%20to%20Read%20in%20a%20Lifetime

NO_CONTENT_IN_FEATURE

Product Details

  • Paperback: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Andersen Press (September 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1849390983
  • ISBN-13: 978-1849390989
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 8.8 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (676 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,710,413 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

One couldn't select a more delightful and exciting premise for a children's book than the tale of a young boy lying awake on Christmas Eve only to have Santa Claus sweep by and take him on a trip with other children to the North Pole. And one couldn't ask for a more talented artist and writer to tell the story than Chris Van Allsburg. Allsburg, a sculptor who entered the genre nonchalantly when he created a children's book as a diversion from his sculpting, won the 1986 Caldecott Medal for this book, one of several award winners he's produced. The Polar Express rings with vitality and wonder.



Amazon Exclusive: A Letter from Chris Van Allsburg

Dear Amazon Readers,

Over the past twenty-five years, many people have shared stories with me about the effect that reading The Polar Express has had on their families and on their celebration of Christmas.

One of the most poignant was told to me five or six years ago at a book signing in the Midwest, on a snowy December evening. As I inscribed a book to a woman in her sixties, she told me that it was the second copy she had owned, and wanted to know if she could she tell me what had happened to the first. "Of course," I answered.

A dozen years earlier the woman, who had no children of her own, befriended a neighbor, a boy of about seven, named Eddie. He would often cross his driveway to visit her.

She had a collection of picture books, which she read to him, but around the holidays, the only story he ever wanted to hear, over and over, was The Polar Express. One year she offered to give him the book, but Eddie declined because he wanted to hear her read it aloud to him, which she continued to do every year until the boy and his family moved away.

Years later the woman learned from a mutual acquaintance that Eddie had grown up and become a soldier. He was stationed in Iraq. Since Christmas was approaching, the woman decided to send him a gift box. She included candy, cookies, socks, and her old copy of The Polar Express. She wasn't sure what a nineteen-year-old battle-weary soldier would do with the book in an army barracks in the Middle East, but she wanted him to have it. A month later, after the holidays had passed, she received a letter from Eddie.

He told her he was very happy to have heard from her and to get the box of gifts. He had opened it in his barracks, just before curfew, with some of his fellow GIs already in their bunks. A soldier in the next bunk spotted the book. He knew it well from his own childhood and asked Eddie to read it. "Out loud?" he asked. "Yeah," his buddy told him.

Eddie, quietly and a little self-consciously, read The Polar Express. When he'd finished and closed the book, a moment of silence passed. Then from behind him a voice called out, "Read it again," and another joined in, "Yeah, read it again," and a third added, "This time, louder." So Eddie did.

He wrote to the woman that he'd stood up and read it to his comrades just the way he remembered she had read it to him.

All aboard,

Chris Van Allsburg




Recipes and Activities to Celebrate the 25th Anniversary of The Polar Express


(Click on Images for the Recipe or Activity [PDF])

Snacks for Santa

Candy Cane Sugar Cookies

Polar Chocolate Nougat Caramel Squares

Christmas Snowball Cookies


Fun and Games

A Polar Express Word Search

A Polar Express Crossword

A Polar Express Maze



--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

From School Library Journal

PreSchool-Grade 2-Chris Van Allsburg's Caldecott-winning Christmas classic (HM, 1985) is 15 years old, but it is a timeless story that just keeps getting better. Actor Liam Neeson's authoritative, unhurried narration brings the story to life. Peaceful, unobtrusive orchestrations punctuate the text like falling snow. As the Polar Express pulls into town one Christmas Eve, offering a magical, unforgettable trip to the North Pole, a young boy boards the train. When Santa offers him the first gift of the season, the boy chooses one bell from the harness of a reindeer. On the return trip, the bell is lost, and Christmas for the boy seems to be ruined, until the bell reappears under the Christmas tree, with a mystery of its own, solved only by a belief in the spirit of Christmas. This release won't sit on the shelf long. Parents, teachers, and librarians everywhere will be grateful to have someone else read this tear-jerker in their stead. This well-written, impeccably presented package deserves all the attention it will get.
Kirsten Martindale, Buford Academy, GA
Copyright 2000 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

More About the Author

Chris Van Allsburg is the winner of two Caldecott Medals, for Jumanji and The Polar Express, as well as the recipient of a Caldecott Honor Book for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. The author and illustrator of numerous picture books for children, he has also been awarded the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement in children's literature. In 1982, Jumanji won the National Book Award and in 1996, it was made into a popular feature film. Chris Van Allsburg was formerly an instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife and two children.

Customer Reviews

Beautiful illustrations and a wonderful story!
videogator
We buy a Christmas book for our twins every year and read it to them on Christmas eve night, and they LOVED this years pick.
Kate
Reading this book to the children has become a wonderful Christmas tradition that I hope will continue for years to come.
Alana Richards

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

202 of 209 people found the following review helpful By Quaker Annie on November 1, 2000
Format: Paperback
This book opens the possibility that Santa Claus -- as presented to most of us -- may not physically exist. It does this in a way that will allow children and their parents to ease into that question, a graceful move from the belief in a living St. Nick, to a belief in the spirit of Christmas.
It begins like this: "On Christmas Eve, many years ago, I lay quietly in my bed. I did not rustle the sheets. I breathed slowly and silently. I was listening for a sound -- a sound a friend had told me I'd never hear -- the ringing of Santa's sleigh.
'There is no Santa,' my friend had insisted, but I knew he was wrong."
From here, we follow a beautifully illustrated story of this young boy's quiet night ride with other children, on the Polar Express train to the North Pole, a "huge city standing alone at the top of the world, filled with factories where every Christmas toy was made."
Our narrator is the fortunate child, picked by Santa, to receive the first gift of that Christmas. He knows exactly what he wants, a simple gift that will help him continue to believe in the magic of Christmas, a silver bell from a reindeer's harness.
He gets his wish, but loses it on the train ride home. However, there's a happy ending -- evidently Santa has found the bell, and put it under the tree. The boy and his little sister admire the beauty of the sound it makes, but their parents say, "Oh, that's too bad....It's broken."
Many years later, the boy's sister and all of his friends can no longer hear the bell.
"Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me as it does for all who truly believe.
Read more ›
6 Comments Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
86 of 90 people found the following review helpful By Wayne A. Smith VINE VOICE on January 9, 2000
Format: Hardcover
My kids love the art and the story is enchanting.
A wonderful train ride full of children who want to believe churns its way to the North Pole and a meeting with Santa. Keeping with traditon, Santa selects one boy to present the first present of Christmas to before he mounts to the sky to visit all the homes of good boys and girls. Rather than ask for a bike, or Pokemon or any other "big" gift, the boy asks for one of Santa's sleigh bells, proof he can hold onto that yes, Santa does exist.
This tale of Christmas belief (in Santa, that is) works well on adults, too. It has a message about belief and wonderment that touch all who want to believe in the magic associated with the gift giving part of Christmas.
Warning, The Polar Express is best for children a little older than mine (5 1/2, 4). It introduces the concept that Santa may not exist. I get around this by not reading two paragraphs in the book, but you should be forwarned if that particular discussion in your household is several years away. (My kids also tell me everytime that the boy in the story should not get on the train at the invitation of a stranger.) At the right age, this is a magical and wonderful Christmas tale of belief.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
58 of 59 people found the following review helpful By Kathleen Teer Egan on November 29, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I started reading this book to my children 15 years ago when they were toddlers. I would keep it with my Christmas decorations and bring it out every holiday season. Once they grew too old to be read to, I still brought it out every year and put it on the coffee table. Last year I started reading it to my two-year old son. I still cry with nostaligia each time I read The Polar Express, remembering the magic it held for my older children and how we read it over and over. Well, my second son loved it so much, it never go put away with the Christmas decorations. We read it together constantly, even during the summer! This is a book that never loses its magic -- for children and adults alike. I plan to give this book to my neices and nephews this Christmas.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
33 of 34 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
It is far too easy to express cynicism about Christmas. Likewise, it is far too easy to put down the Christmas season as too commercial. And it is far too easy to dismiss a seasonal gem such as The Polar Express as simplistic and sentimental. But this tale is one of belief, of keeping something which is childlike, not childish, and that just doesn't grow old.
The narrator, a boy, lies awake listening for the sound of the bells on Santa's sleigh, a sound a friend who doesn't believe in Santa Claus says that he won't hear. Indeed, he does not, but what he does hear is even more wonderful and remarkable. He hears the hiss of steam and the squeak of metal, and when he looks out the window, he sees a train outside his house. It is the Polar Express, heading for the North Pole.
Once aboard, he finds that it is full of children, all in their nightclothes. They sing Christmas carols, drink cocoa and eat candies as the train races northward. Finally, they arrive at the North Pole, and the narrator is selected to receive the first gift of Christmas. He asks for, and receives from Santa Claus himself, a silver bell from the sleigh.
Although the boy loses the bell on the way home, kindly Santa returns it to him, and the boy discovers that the bell has a remarkable quality. Only those who still believe in the wonder of Santa and the spirit of Christmas can hear the bell. His friends and his sister eventually cannot hear the bell, but even when he grows up "the bell still rings for [him] as it does for all who truly believe."
The story is accompanied by beautiful pictures that capture the nighttime journey. The author employs somber tones in most of his scenes, speckled with snow and highlighted with starlight and the glowing lights of the train. He captures the cold and mystery of the night, contrasting it with the warm interior scenes.
Every child should own this book. It is a magical story that they can appreciate for the rest of their lives.
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback. If this review is inappropriate, please let us know.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again

Customer Images


What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?