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The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

The Polar Express (original 1985; edition 2009)

by Chris Van Allsburg

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4,3442491,138 (4.36)35
Title:The Polar Express
Authors:Chris Van Allsburg
Collections:Your library
Tags:Christmas, Caldecott, picture book, adventure

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The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg (1985)


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The Polar Express (Leather Bound)

by Chris Van Allsburg
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On Christmas Eve a young boy who truly believes in Santa Claus is invited to board the Polar Express--a train that brings him and other young ... Show synopsis
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  dbmillegan | Oct 24, 2014 |
I absolutely loved reading The Polar Express. The first reason why I liked this book was because of the plot. The plot was about a young boy that woke up on Christmas Eve night. He suddenly sees a train outside of his bedroom window. The story was suspenseful because was he going to board the train, where was the train going to go, is anyone else on the train, etc? You just did not know what was going to happen, and it made me want to keep reading. The second reason why I liked the book was because of the illustrations. On each page throughout the book the illustrations went over the book’s gutter. I felt like this truly enhanced the story because I felt like I was apart of the story and was taking the adventure with the characters. I also liked how the illustrations were shown sparingly. This made me have to use my imagination to construct my own images and scenes. The main message of the story was that belief can keep us all young at heart. ( )
  Germuth | Oct 13, 2014 |
Summary: This children's book is about a little boy who is starting to lose faith in Santa Claus. One night, he gets picked up to ride on the Polar Express that takes him to the North Pole to see Santa Claus. When he gets there, Santa chooses him out of a whole crowd of people to accept the first gift of Christmas. The little boy chooses a bell from Santa's sleigh. When he gets back on the train he realizes he lost the bell and is sad when the train heads home to leave. The next morning, underneath the tree is a small box, addressed to him with a note from Santa and the bell inside. His sister and the boy can hear the bell but the parents cannot. The bell continues to ring for the boy because he continues to believe in Santa.

Argument: I think this book is a great book for children. It keeps the spirit of Christmas alive for those children in the classroom who do celebrate the holiday. It is a classic story that all children can relate to-even if they do not believe in Santa anymore. One reason, I like this book is the descriptive and figurative language that helps the reader picture the image/scene in their mind and better connect to the meaning of the story. For example, on page 11 it says, "They looked like the lights of a strange ocean liner sailing on a frozen sea". I also enjoyed how the illustrations of the story really contributed to the text and made it easier to understanding the reading. On page 20, the text is describing how sad the boy is that he lost his bell and the illustration shows his emotion and sunken posture on the train seat.
The theme of this book is that all children will always have the spirit of Christmas inside of them-it just may not be as visible. It also touches on the main idea of the innocence of childhood and the ability for children to believe in the make-believe. It shows that the magic of Christmas comes alive for young children. ( )
  stomas5 | Sep 28, 2014 |
Since, “The Polar Express” is one of my all time favorite Christmas movies, I chose this book to remind myself of why I love it. From being a believer in Christmas to boarding the Polar Express, this book is a great story for children to explore. The language is descriptive and clear, using vivid vocabulary. Some examples of this include, “hissing steam” and “squeaking metal,” both of which are used to describe the sounds of the train. In addition, the first person point of view from the young boy allows students to relate more to the story. With the point of view coming from a child, of around the same age as viewers, children can really imagine what it would be like to be a kid in the North Pole. The big idea of this story is based on believing and the magic of Christmas. ( )
  Ebutzn1 | Sep 11, 2014 |
A classic, inspiring Christmas tale. It was fun to reread this book as an adult and appreciate the illustrations and text after doing an author study. I hope I can always hear the bells! ( )
  jcarroll12 | Jul 23, 2014 |
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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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On Christmas Eve, many years ago, I lay quietly in my bed.
"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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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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