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The Polar Express Hardcover – October 28, 1985
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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
From School Library Journal
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Based on an original new story by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child is the eighth story in the Harry Potter series, and the first official Harry Potter story to be presented on stage. Pre-order the official script book today. Kindle | Hardcover
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Top Customer Reviews
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 ›
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.
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.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Read the book to my four year old grandson and then road the PolarExpress train on December 24, 2015. Great time for all of us in the 19 degree weather in Williams, Arizona. Read morePublished 6 days ago by rosemary eardley
Son just loves this book and is still asking us to read it 2 months after ChristmasPublished 9 days ago by Robert Bindel
didn't work on my laptop, but works fine on my tablet. Be sure to see if it works on your device.Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
This was a gift and I was very disappointed with the condition of the cover of the book. The edges were a little ratty and bent. It did not look new. Read morePublished 11 days ago by Amazon Customer
I hate that I can't open my book without having the reviews thing pop up. Every time that happens, the review will be one star, regardless of how much I like the book. So there.Published 12 days ago by Lizzy1234
Lovely book with the seal on front and bookmark in the back. Arrived on time.Published 12 days ago by KT
Fantastic book! A true classic for the Christmas season! My 4 year old's favorite book!Published 13 days ago by Amazon Customer
Quite a hit with the person I gave it to. Excellent renditionPublished 14 days ago by Judith G. Moody