Book Review of The Polar Express
The Children’s Book Review
Written and Illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg
Ages 4+ | 32 Pages
Publisher: Clarion Books | ISBN-13: 9780544580145
What to Expect: The Spirit of Christmas, Trains, and Santa
The Polar Express, recipient of the prestigious 1986 Caldecott Medal, stands as a timeless holiday classic that has captured the hearts of millions worldwide. Its enduring popularity is evident through the impressive seven million copies sold and its transformation into a beloved holiday film.
Chris Van Allsburg’s masterful storytelling transports readers to that magical moment on Christmas Eve when anticipation reaches its peak. Who hasn’t yearned to catch a fleeting glimpse of Santa and his reindeer? Yet, as the story aptly reminds us, Santa’s arrival is contingent upon the embrace of slumber. In this enchanting tale, a young male protagonist lies awake, straining to hear the familiar jingle of sleigh bells, only to be met with a different, equally entrancing sound—the rhythmic hiss of steam and the melodic creaking of a majestic steam train halted just beyond his doorstep.
This fateful encounter leads the young boy on a wondrous journey aboard the Polar Express, an extraordinary locomotive bound for the mythical North Pole. Van Allsburg skillfully guides readers through breathtaking adventure, allowing them to experience the exhilaration and wonderment of a truly unforgettable Christmas Eve. Along the way, the boy is bestowed with a cherished Christmas wish, culminating in the awe-inspiring sight of Santa Claus embarking on his mission to spread joy to children across the globe.
The illustrations in The Polar Express are nothing short of enchanting, beckoning readers to step into the pages and join the expedition to the North Pole. Van Allsburg’s artistic prowess brings to life a world of snowy landscapes, twinkling lights, and the warm glow of holiday cheer. Santa Claus, the pinnacle of magic and wonder, is bestowed with a palpable presence that resonates with readers of all ages.
In the pantheon of books celebrating the magic of Santa Claus, The Polar Express stands as a beacon of enchantment, cherished by families for generations. Its narrative, combined with the visual artistry of the illustrations, conjures a sense of wonder that lingers long after the final page is turned. The echo of Santa’s sleigh bells reverberates in the reader’s mind, a testament to the enduring magic of this cherished tale. Can you hear it? Jingle, jingle, jingle.
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About the Author-Illustrator
Chris Van Allsburg is the winner of two Caldecott Medals for Jumanji and The Polar Express, as well as the recipient of a Caldecott Honor Book for The Garden of Abdul Gasazi. The author and illustrator of numerous picture books for children, he has also been awarded the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement in children’s literature. In 1982, Jumanji won the National Book Award, and in 1996, it was made into a popular feature film. Chris Van Allsburg was formerly an instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife and two children.
What to Read Next if You Love The Polar Express
- How the Grinch Stole Christmas, by Dr. Seuss
- Jumanji, by Chris Van Allsburg
- The Night Before Christmas, by Clement C. Moore
- The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, by Chris Van Allsburg
Bianca Schulze reviewed The Polar Express. Discover more books like The Polar Express by reading our reviews and articles tagged with Christmas Spirit.