The Polar Express Hardcover – Oct 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.
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
This is the story of a boy lucky enough to ride The Polar Express to the North Pole on one magical night to see Santa Claus and his elves. While the destination is exciting, the real fun is riding in this train full of children, all dressed in their pajamas and snacking on cookies and milk. The story is beautifully told by Chris Van Allsburg, but the real reason why reading this book is an annual tradition for me is the brilliance of the illustrations. The pictures are painstakingly detailed, especially the beautiful images of the train, the light from the stars in the sky, and the fallen snow.
While Santa Claus is incorporated into the story and the illustrations, he is not the focal point. The crux of this book centers around this train, the wintery environment, and the youthful magic that makes it all so special.
I am now 22-years-old, and this book is just as compelling for me today as it was when I was 5. I look forward to the day when I will have children of my own and will be able to make it an annual tradition to read this book to them. This book is a must-have for anyone's personal library, especially if you are a parent, a child, or a child-at-heart like me. I give this book the highest of recommendations.
I love this story. I used to love having this story read to me. With the recent reading of it I remembered just how much I love the story and illustrations. The pictures are amazing, add that to the story and this book completely captures the season of Christmas. The author does a wonderful job with the miracle of Christmas. The author illustrate with word and picture the importance of the miracle of Christmas and how important it is for you to believe in that miracle. As well as all the miracles life has to offer, all it takes is a little bit of faith and imagination.
Would also recommend another great read titled "The Children's Corner" by Jackson McCrae. While it's NOT a children's book, it will be very much enjoyed by adults, especially the one story "Christmas Comes But Once a Year." Really great stuff.
I'm glad the "powers that be" who make movies, chose this awesome book for an animated, graphic movie. It was beautiful to watch. Inspirational!
This holiday classic should be kept by your Christmas tree every year and re-read ... even when your children are grown ... and ESPECIALLY when your children have children of their own.
A haunting tale of a little boy and ... Well, read for yourself!
Contrary to the movie, the story in the book is not that long. Beautiful illustrations are complementing the story as you go through the pages. The story is simple and will present the magic of Santa Claus. The book itself is a hardcover book and would make a wonderful book to discover during the season of Christmas.
Personally, I really enjoy this story and I have no problem to read this book and watch the movie with my children. However, I know that for many Christian parents the subject of Santa Claus is a touchy subject. We have decided not to dwell too long on Santa because it is a fictitious character. We prefer emphasizing the birth of Christ in our yearly celebration. The book is a beautiful story which bring joy to the kids when I read it. The important thing for us during the season is to spend time as a family. Reading together brings memory. And this book will be part of our memories this year.
And to complete the book, a gold All Aboard ornament can be found at the back of the story. Also, you have the possibility to download the story in order to put it on your portable device and allow your children to listen to it while you are driving. You can also visit polarexpress.com to discover activities, recipes, and a Christmas Countdown calendar.
Most recent customer reviews
loved this purchase and it arrived ahead of schedule - awesome!!Published 9 days ago by Amazon Customer
It came quickly and has a nice little christmas decoration to hang on your tree. Classic book for Christmas eve reading!Published 26 days ago by Lauren
Beautiful childrens Christmas Book For any children who love trainsPublished 28 days ago by Neil H.
Beautiful book! With all the retro flavor of Christmas!
Super fast shipping, thank you!
This heart- warming tale has quickly become our family's holiday must read. The illustrations are breathtakingly beautiful. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
Love the book and i recieved a Christmas ornament with it. It is an ok ornament( flat gold plated train) but i wish i could have got the bell instead! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Nikki R.
I loved this story growing up and bought it for my daughter and I to read together over the holidays. Read morePublished 13 months ago by Katherine Lee
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