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The Polar Express

The Polar Express
By Chris Van Allsburg

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411 new or used available from $0.39

Average customer review:
(1589 customer reviews)

Product Description

For twenty years, The Polar Express has been a worldwide bestseller and Christmas classic. A perfect keepsake for any family, this beautiful edition can be handed down to each new generation of readers.

In 1986 The Polar Express was awarded the prestigious Caldecott Medal and hit the New York Times bestseller list. Since that time, more than six and a half million copies have been sold, and every December it faithfully reappears on national bestseller lists. In 2004, The Polar Express became a blockbuster holiday movie. The DVD release in 2005 assures, that like the book, the movie will become a holiday classic.


Product Details

  • Amazon Sales Rank: #10258 in Books
  • Brand: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
  • Published on: 1985-01-01
  • Released on: 1985-10-28
  • Original language: English
  • Number of items: 1
  • Dimensions: 9.00" h x .38" w x 11.38" l, .90 pounds
  • Binding: Hardcover
  • 32 pages

Features

  • Chris Van Allsburg. Signed

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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.

Review
. . . the pictures may be the best he's done. There is nothing cute here, rather there is something I would have to call majestic. -- The New York Times Book Review, ;Noel Perrin

"The sumptuous pastel effects-train lights seen through falling snow and a vertiginous overhead view, from Santa's sleigh, of his popular city-make this one of Van Allsburg's most treasured visions. --Newsweek

"Even the most hardened Santa doubters might find in The Polar Express the faith to believe again." (American Bookseller )

"As always, the forms are sculptured, the perspectives as dazzling as they are audacious, the colors rich and elegant, the use of light and shadow masterly." (Horn Book Guide )

"The Polar Express is magic indeed." (The New York Times )

"The sumptuous pastel effects-train lights seen through falling snow and a vertiginous overhead view, from Santa's sleigh, of his popular city-make this one of Van Allsburg's most treasured visions." (Newsweek )

"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. Van 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.com )


Customer Reviews

Most helpful customer reviews

26 of 27 people found the following review helpful.
5"Big Book" is false - Huge, Massive, Enormous are far more fitting - It's beautiful!
By Jess
They're not joking when they say "Big Book"! WOW! I should have looked at the reviews before purchasing, I certainly did not expect or need a book of this size, but it's beautiful and great quality.

When this huge box from Amazon showed up, I assumed Amazon was out of smaller shipping boxes. My husband and I couldn't stop laughing when we pulled this book out of the box.

This book is perfect for large audiences (classrooms). Depending on your size, you may need help holding and turning the pages - my husband is 6 foot and he would have benefited from having an assistant page turner.

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful.
4Check for ornament on back inside dust jacket
By Lilly'Mommy
I ordered this book at the beginning of December to give to my 3 y/o on Xmas eve. I will be adjusting the text so as not to plant the seed about non-believers.

This is the 25th anniversary edition. It is supposed to come with a CD (attached to the front inside cover) and an ornament. MAKE SURE YOURS HAS THE ORNAMENT, YOU PAID FOR IT! The first copy I received did not come with an ornament so I contacted Amazon and they sent me a new copy. I received the new one today and it had the ornament attached to the inside of the dust jacket in the back of the book. You will NOT receive a bell ornament. The one that comes with this edition says "All Aboard!"

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
5All aboard!!!
By VBell
This book and movie are an obsession for my little boy. He would have me read him this every night before bed all year if I didn't tell him that Santa took it back to the north pole (along with all the other Christmas books) when he brought the presents. He still insists on watching the movie several times a week, because I wasn't slick enough to hide that. We're also going to ride the Texas State Railroad Polar Express ride this year, because the only thing he asked for for Christmas was to ride a train. He'll be 4 in December, so the magic is still very much alive for him.

See all 1589 customer reviews...