The Polar Express
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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.
- Amazon Sales Rank: #100425 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
- Chris Van Allsburg. Signed
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.
. . . 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 )
Most helpful customer reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful.
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.
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful.
"Th"anks but I've gone back to printed books
By David J Stroud
Every "th" from "the" was missing from the print! Really annoying. The 2nd time I've bought an ebook and had print missing.
0 of 0 people found the following review helpful.
Do You Still Hear the Bells?
I bought a physical copy of this book for a nephew's 1st Christmas. I remember my parents reading it to me during Christmas time as a child and really treasure the memories. I'm not sure if a kindle version would be able to really do it justice. Van Allsburg's writing is concise, but descriptive. Paired with the beautiful illustrations, this book creates an atmosphere of eerie wonder and calm that few books are able to achieve.
I still have the original copy of this book that my family purchased in the 90's. My parents are very tidy and aren't ones for keeping things. Most of my childhood books have been donated or gifted to younger cousins. Our copy of The Polar Express was placed in the keepsake box.
My nephew's family had never heard of The Polar Express when I gifted it to them, though it seemed well received. I asked the family to write a message to the nephew on the inside of the book's covers; these well-wishes will become his "first gifts of Christmas" when he's older and reading the book with his parents. I'm really glad they did. Last month, the nephew's great-grandmother unexpectedly passed away. He'll be able to read her Christmas wish to him growing up.