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The Polar Express Hardcover – 3 Nov 1985

74 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 3 Nov 1985
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Andersen; Fep Pages Spotted edition (3 Nov. 1985)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0862641438
  • ISBN-13: 978-0862641436
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 0.7 x 29.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 375,864 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Chris van Allsburg lives in Providence, Rhode Island and lectures at the Rhode Island School of Design. He is a sculptor and artist, and twice winner of the Caldecott Medal, first for Jumanji, and then for The Polar Express.

(c) Constance Brown Photography

Product Description


"Utterly perfect Christmas tale. One of the most atmospheric and perfectly paced Christmas stories ever written for children." Read it Daddy! Blog "You could do no better. Bittersweet, beautifully told, trad book." The New Review (Supp.To the Observer) Christmas Books 2014 "A book to keep and remember." Newbury Weekly News, Caroline Franklin "Magical glowing double spread pictures ... an original and memorable book." Guardian "Stunning and exciting ... deeply painterly scenes express the wonder and imagination still fresh in childhood." Growing Point

Book Description

Reissue of this timeless classic Christmas book, to coincide with release of the DVD of the motion picture starring Oscar-winning actor, Tom Hanks. (1995-06-06)

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Inside This Book

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First Sentence
On Christmas Eve, many years ago, I lay quietly in my bed. Read the first page
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Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By S A KEOGH on 13 May 2003
Format: Hardcover
An absolutely beautiful book about a little boy who refuses to stop believing in Father Christmas,no matter how much his friends tease him. On Christmas Eve, a steam train shows up and whisks the boy and his disbelieving friends off to the North Pole to meet the man himself.
Wonderfully written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg, this is a story to amaze and delight children, and touch the heart of any adult who reads it.
Soon to be made into a film starring Tom Hanks.
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34 of 36 people found the following review helpful By Daniel Jolley HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 10 Dec. 2006
Format: Hardcover
No longer being a child, and having seen the movie before ever reading Chris Van Allsburg's The Polar Express, I find it somewhat difficult to review this Caldecott Award-winning book. Never having heard of the book before the movie came out, I had originally assumed that this must be some classic Christmas book from a half-century or more ago, one that had somehow escaped my notice when I was a child. The story really does read like a traditional classic, which is only one of the reasons I am so fond of it. I also love the beautiful simplicity of it all, as well as the fact that it helps me remember what Christmas meant to me as a child.

To me, The Polar Express actually speaks more eloquently to grown-ups than it does to children - although these visions of Santa and his reindeer, particularly in the ever-so-long days of middle December, are sure to invite smiles and squeals (and, I expect, questions along the lines of "why would he choose a bell when he could have had a Playstation 3?") from youngsters. Children will no doubt enjoy this story, but I am not so sure they will truly appreciate it - not until, that is, they have had the misfortune of growing up and losing that precious sense of wonder that defines childhood. The Polar Express speaks most subtly and powerfully to those of us who can no longer hear the bell.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Singingg on 6 Jan. 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Anyone expecting this book to be the story of the film will be slightly disappointed, the film builds on the bones of the story and expands it, slightly losing the simplicity along the way. Both book and story have the same values though - BELIEF!

The story bridges that gap in childhood that comes when the realisation dawns that Father Christmas is not a real person, but tells that there is still something to believe in your heart. In this beautifully illustrated book, the boy has a huge adventure on Christmas eve, travelling to the North Pole on a vast Steam Train, journeying through the frozen wastes to Santa's home where the elves are preparing his sleigh. The boy is chosen to receive the first gift of Christmas and, not wishing to be greedy, chooses a silver bell from the reindeer harness, which slips through a hole in his pocket and is lost.

It would spoil the story to tell the outcome - you will have to read it yourself!! The verson I bought also has a CD with the story read by Liam Neeson, twice. The first part straightforwardly, in the second a silver bell rings when it is time to turn the page and so a child who canot read can enjoy the magnificent pictures in context. I cannot recommend this book too highly for all believers and almost believers. As a companion to the DVD it is perfect.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By K. J. Noyes TOP 100 REVIEWER on 8 Aug. 2015
Format: Paperback
Not really the right time of year to read this (August!), but my son was quite enchanted, nonetheless.

He hasn't seen the film, but I wanted to see what he thought of the book. It's a lovely edition, with ssuperb drawings of the children, scenes and train.

With hindsight though, I should have waited until my on was actually questioning the existence of Father Christmas before offering up to him the notion that he CAN be questioned! Still, he didn't seem to query it.

The story is probably well known by any reading this - a boy on Christmas Eve boards a magic train, bound for the North Pole. There is meets Father Christmas and is given a special gift - proof of Santa's existence...

This is a short enough read for preschooler bedtime, but long enough for an older child to enjoy reading by themselves. The illustrations really are lovely, and the ending full of magic for the Christmas season.

A book every child should experience at the right time.
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37 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Donald Mitchell HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 28 Jun. 2004
Format: Hardcover
Reading to your child is good for both of you. The experience strengthens your bond. Your example also helps your child to learn to read. Pick a good book, and you will have enriched your child's life in ways that would not otherwise be possible. Reading The Polar Express aloud is a good opportunity to accomplish these worthwhile results.
This delightful Christmas story raises a challenging question for parents: For whom is this book appropriate? The text suggests that some children and parents (and almost all people as they get older) don't believe in Santa. In addition, the story is filled with things parents tell their children never to do when parents are not around (such as take a ride with strangers, eat food and drink beverages from strangers, and accept gifts from strangers). If you decide to read the story to a very wee one, you should also be prepared for the possibility that your child might be frightened by the idea that all of this commotion can happen on Christmas Eve near your house.
My conclusion is that the optimum time to read this story is the first time you become aware that your child is a little confused or skeptical about Santa. This often occurs after seeing the 17th Santa in a store during the same shopping trip. You could use the multiplicity of Santas to explain why some children and adults are skeptical about these "Santa's helpers." Obviously, we all know that Santa is really busy at the North Pole. I suggest that you handle the "unapproved" behavior by asking your child if she or he should do these things, and reinforce the proper lessons.
The story itself centers on faith. A man remembers one Christmas Eve.
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