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Polar Express 30th anniversary edition Hardcover – September 15, 2015
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From the Publisher
North Pole Cozy Cocoa Recipe
Gather the ingredients below.
Pour hot water, sugar, cocoa powder and salt into a large pot. Whisk over medium heat.
When everything is combined, add chocolate chips and whisk mixture until chocolate chips are melted.
Add milk and vanilla and whisk again. Serve with marshmallows or whipped cream!
- 1 cup cocoa powder
- 1 cup chocolate chips
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ gallon milk
- 1 tsp vanilla
Fun Facts About The Polar Express
In celebration of the 30th anniversary of The Polar Express, enjoy these fun facts about the book!
- The setting of the book is based on Van Allsburg’s childhood home in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
- The Pere Marquette 1225 train, now in Owosso, Michigan, was the inspiration for the story. As a child, Chris Van Allsburg played on the engine when it was on display, and to him, the number 1225 meant 12/25, Christmas Day!
- The real 1225 train inspired the animated train, and they recorded the 1225’s different locomotive sounds to use in the movie.
- Chris Van Allsburg said that The Polar Express was the easiest of his picture book manuscripts to write. He created only one draft and had to make only a few changes to the text.
- The Polar Express is done with oil pastels, and to get the night lighting just right, he mixed color complements (reds with greens, oranges with blues) to bring out the hues of colors in low light.
- Van Allsburg has an artistic connection to another Christmas classic — in 2014 he designed the sets for the Michigan Ballet’s performance of The Nutcracker.
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
Grade 1-3 Given a talented and aggressive imagination, even the challenge of as cliche-worn a subject as Santa Claus can be met effectively. Van Allsburg's Polar Express is an old-fashioned steam train that takes children to the North Pole on Christmas Eve to meet the red-suited gentleman and to see him off on his annual sleigh ride. This is a personal retelling of the adult storyteller's adventures as a youngster on that train. The telling is straight, thoughtfully clean-cut and all the more mysterious for its naive directness; the message is only a bit less direct: belief keeps us young at heart. The full-page images are theatrically lit. Colors are muted, edges of forms are fuzzy, scenes are set sparsely, leaving the details to the imagination. The light comes only from windows of buildings and the train or from a moon that's never depicted. Shadows create darkling spaces and model the naturalistic figures of children, wolves, trees, old-fashioned furniture and buildings. Santa Claus and his reindeer seem like so many of the icons bought by parents to decorate yards and rooftops: static, posed with stereotypic gestures. These are scenes from a memory of long ago, a dreamy reconstruction of a symbolic experience, a pleasant remembrance rebuilt to fufill a current wish: if only you believe, you too will hear the ringing of the silver bell that Santa gave him and taste rich hot chocolate in your ride through the wolf-infested forests of reality. Van Allsburg's express train is one in which many of us wish to believe. Kenneth Marantz, Art Education Department, Ohio State University, Columbus
Copyright 2002 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Top customer reviews
I still have the original copy of this book that my family purchased in the 90's. My parents are very tidy and aren't ones for keeping things. Most of my childhood books have been donated or gifted to younger cousins. Our copy of The Polar Express was placed in the keepsake box.
My nephew's family had never heard of The Polar Express when I gifted it to them, though it seemed well received. I asked the family to write a message to the nephew on the inside of the book's covers; these well-wishes will become his "first gifts of Christmas" when he's older and reading the book with his parents. I'm really glad they did. Last month, the nephew's great-grandmother unexpectedly passed away. He'll be able to read her Christmas wish to him growing up.
The story is not very long, and I think the people that made the movie did an amazing job taking what was in the story and extending it to a 1.5 hour movie. Despite the size the story is great. And the artwork in this book is truly masterful.
This, after only one holiday season so far, has already become one of our favorite holiday books to read.
The only issue I encountered was the book arrived damaged, torn dust jacket and mark on hard cover. In the end I guess it wasn't enough for me to send it back and deal with the hassle of a return. This does not effect the use of the book at all, which is a great purchase!