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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

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
4,4192601,108 (4.36)41
Member:Erin330
Title:The Polar Express
Authors:Chris Van Allsburg
Info:Houghton Mifflin (2009), Edition: 1st, Hardcover, 32 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:Christmas, Caldecott, picture book, adventure

Work details

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (1985)

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English (259)  Japanese (1)  All languages (260)
Showing 1-5 of 259 (next | show all)
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". ( )
  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 |
Summary
In the middle of the night on Christmas Eve a boy wakes up and finds a train, The polar express, waiting outside his house. The boy gets on the train and it takes him and the other children to the North Pole! When they get to the North Pole they get to see elves, reindeers, and they get to meet Santa. The little boy get chosen to get the first gift of Christmas which is a silver bell. They watch Santa take off for his adventure and he puts the bell inside his pocket. They all board the train again so it can take them home. The little boy reaches in his pocket to show the other children the bell but all he finds is a hole in his pocket and it was too late to find the bell because the train was already in motion. When the boy gets home he goes back to sleep, he wakes up on Christmas Day, him and his sister open presents, and they find a small present with the little boys name on it. He opens it and it's his bell. Because the boy never stops believing, he heard the jingling of the bell even after he gets older.

Personal opinion
This is the first time I read this book but I've seen the movie several of times. I enjoyed this book. I like reading this book to the class because the children loved seeing the train!

Extension
We could have a pajama day and make hot chocolate. We could also have the children do an art activity and make a train with pre-cut or children cut squares and circles.
  BrittanyCanales | Feb 11, 2015 |
I absolutely loved this modern fantasy book. The pictures were animated but were very realistic. They told the story of Christmas through a little boy's view. They got to take the train to the North Pole and meet Santa and his reindeer. This mission was only for those who believed. ( )
  BayleeWestrick | Jan 26, 2015 |
Summary of Book- This book called the Polar Express is about a boy who is sleeping in bed on Christmas Eve when he suddenly hears a train outside his bedroom. He goes outside and is told it is the Polar Express and it is going to the North Pole. The little boy gets on and goes to the North Pole with some more children. When he finally arrives he is chosen to receive the first gift of Christmas. He chooses one of the sleigh bells and he places it in his pocket, but when they get back on the train he notices it is missing. The next morning he finds that Santa has left the bell under the tree just for him.

Personal Reaction to the Book- This is a wonderful book and is one of my all-time favorites. Children will really love this book because it is something they all get excited for and dream about, meeting Santa.

Extension Ideas-
1. The children will draw a picture about what they think the polar express looks like.
2. The children will write about what gift they would have chosen if they got to receive the first gift of Christmas.
  ChristaSparks | Jan 18, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 259 (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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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.)
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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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