Title: The Polar Express
Author: Chris Van Allsburg
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Company
Source: Gift/Won (in work draw)
Check this book out on Goodreads.
Late on Christmas Eve, after the town has gone to sleep, a boy boards a mysterious train that waits for him: the Polar Express bound for the North Pole. When he arrives there, Santa offers him any gift he desires. The boy modestly asks for one bell from the reindeer’s harness. It turns out to be a very special gift, for only believers in Santa can hear it ring. (Source: Goodreads)
Chris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express is a children’s classic. This story about a little boy who boards a train to the North Pole and gets the first Christmas gift of the year is a timeless reminder of the joys of Christmas and why it’s great for kids to believe. The specific edition that I own has an audiobook (read by Liam Neeson!!!) and a Christmas ornament, though I think some come with the bell that the boy receives from Santa.
This book is a classic. I can remember reading this as a kid, and more recently seeing the movie. I wasn’t a huge fan of this book like other kids were, I enjoyed it but it wasn’t a favourite. Reading it again now I can really enjoy the art, which I didn’t even pay attention to as a kid. The art and the story of this book are pretty fantastic. I did find the story a little dull and rushed at times which is why it doesn’t get a perfect score.
The art of this book is really the high point. The illustrations are beautiful and really capture the magic of Christmas. The really iconic and classic image of this book is the final page, the bell, which is really a striking image and one I’ve always remembered. The one place where there are some problems is definitely the faces of the children, which is often times kind of creepy?
The story itself is really beautiful. I always felt that it was important for kids to believe is Christmas, it inspires so much imagination. I think this story is a huge reminder of that. I do think it’s a bit rushed, it is a really short book, but it’s understandable given that it is a picture book. This is definitely a picture book that could have been expanded though and wouldn’t suffer from the expansion.
I highly recommend this book. It’s a memorable story, and one that can be read and reread every year at Christmas time.