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The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
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The Polar Express (original 1985; edition 2009)

by Chris Van Allsburg

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4,4542621,100 (4.36)41
Member:ashbrau
Title:The Polar Express
Authors:Chris Van Allsburg
Info:Houghton Mifflin (2009), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 32 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

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The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (1985)

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English (261)  Japanese (1)  All languages (262)
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About the Author: This book was written by Chris Van Allsburg. He is an American illustrator and writer. He also wrote the book Jumanji.

Character: The main character in this book is a little boy. There is also the conductor, the little boy Billy and the girl Sarah.

Plot/ Summary:a young boy, who used to adore Christmas, hears a train whistle roar. he finds the train is waiting for him. He sees a conductor who looks up at his window. He runs downstairs and goes outside. The conductor explains the train is called the Polar Express, and is headed to the North Pole. The boy gets on the train, which is filled with chocolate and candy, as well as many other children in their pajamas.

As the train reaches the North Pole, the boy and the other children see thousands of Christmas elves gathered at the center of town waiting to send Santa Claus on his way. The boy is handpicked by Santa to receive the first gift of Christmas. Realizing that he could choose anything in the world, the boy asks for one bell from one of the reindeer's harnesses. The boy places the bell in the pocket of his robe and all the children watch as Santa takes off into the night for his annual deliveries.
Later, on the train ride home, the boy discovers that the bell has fallen through a hole in his pocket. The boy arrives home and goes to his bedroom as the train pulls away. On Christmas morning, his sister finds a small package for the boy under the tree, behind all of the other gifts. The boy opens the box and discovers that it is the bell, delivered by Santa who found it on the seat of his sleigh. When the boy rings the bell, both he and his sister marvel at the beautiful sound. His parents, however, are unable to hear the bell and remark that it must be broken.

Theme: The theme of this book is believing that Santa is real.

Setting: The setting is on the Polar Express, at the North Pole, and at the boys house.

Two direct quotes: "At one time, most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe."

"Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see."

Recommendations: I would definitely recommend reading this to a class. You could make hot chocolate and maybe let them wear there pi's to school and all gather around and read the book then watch the movie as a class. It is a really good book. ( )
  caitlynnb | Apr 17, 2015 |
This is a chapter book that is a legend. It tells the story of a young boy who really wants to believe in Santa Claus, but needs to have proof. So when the Polar Express pulls up, he hops on and is taken to the North Pole, while at the North Pole he sees Santa Claus. He is taken back to his house and in the morning he finds his presents under the tree from Santa Claus.
  ecarlson2014 | Apr 13, 2015 |
Reading this book again, has opened my eyes to the deeper meaning inside of the words. This book is not just about a kid trying to believe in Santa. This book can be compared to someone's belief in God. One may not believe in God because they have not seen Him. This picture book ends with the little boy, who is now grown up, still being able to hear the bell from Santa's sleigh. He tells the readers that eventually his sister was not able to hear the bell signifying her disbelief in Santa. One may interpret this as not always needing proof to believe in something. Even though the boy is the only in his family who still hears the bell, he will never stray from his beliefs. I would read this book to a class of first graders in order for them to explain to me what is something strongly they believe in. Allowing the students to explain to me this with a reasonable explanation, will allow their minds to develop more. ( )
  mbabst | Apr 5, 2015 |
Summary: A young boy is taken on a train ride to recover his belief in Santa Claus. At the end of his journey he is given the gift of believing again resembled by the jingle of the bell.

Reaction: I love this story, we watch the movie every year during the Christmas season. Now I will be adding a time to read the book also.

Extension: The illustrations are nice and give a view that is timeless, even though it begins "many years ago", the illustrations can fit into any persons view of "childhood". In a class room this would fit in nicely during the holiday season, a theme using this book and other holiday books would work great. ( )
  Rebecca90 | Feb 25, 2015 |
This is one of my favorite books to read during the christmas holiday. I like to read the book first then show the movie to compare and contrast. ( )
  Intiasar | Feb 23, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 261 (next | show all)
Mr. Van Allsburg works effectively combining the sinister and the sentimental, but it would take a poet-sociologist to explain precisely why these dark, moody sculptural pastels somehow evoke feelings of glad tidings and joy.
 
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Epigraph
Dedication
To Karen
First words
On Christmas Eve, many years ago, I lay quietly in my bed.
Quotations
"Soon there were no more lights to be seen. We traveled through cold, dark forests, where lean wolves roamed and white-tailed rabbits hid from our train as it thundered through the quiet wilderness."
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0395389496, Hardcover)

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.


25th Anniversary Edition Includes
To commemorate this special anniversary, a lavish gift edition has been created. The set includes a silver foil border, a CD audio recording read by Liam Neeson, a note from Chris Van Allsburg, and a silvery keepsake "All Aboard" ornament.


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
Hot Chocolate

Fun and Games
A Polar Express Word Search
A Polar Express Crossword
A Polar Express Maze
A Polar Express Drawing Sheet

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:24:36 -0400)

(see all 6 descriptions)

A magical train ride on Christmas Eve takes a boy to the North Pole to receive a special gift from Santa Claus.

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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