Most helpful positive review
222 of 229 people found the following review helpful
Is Santa Claus real?
on November 1, 2000
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."
My youngest son at ages 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8 has chosen to firmly believe with the narrator, but he's moved around in his reaction to the notion that Santa isn't real. From -- "that's ridiculous, isn't it?" to "Mom...it is ridiculous, isn't it?" This book will let him hold onto the Christmas spirit for as long as he wants, and to return to it whenever he needs it.
This version comes complete with CD's/tapes with readings. Buy the less expensive edition, add a silver bell, and (if you can), read it with the child yourself to give a really special gift.
A wonderful book for those who want to believe in the spirit of Christmas every day of every year.