The Definitive Guide to

The Polar Express

Written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg
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Publisher Summary

1986 Caldecott Medal Winner

A young boy, lying awake one Christmas Eve, is welcomed aboard a magical trip to the North Pole . . .

Through dark forests, over tall mountains, and across a desert of ice, the Polar Express makes its way to the city atop the world, where the boy will make his Christmas wish.

For millions of readers worldwide, this mysterious journey to the North Pole has become a beloved classic. In this 30th anniversary edition, the inimitable artistry of Chris Van Allsburg is revealed in a never-before-seen fashion, with a new jacket design and expanded interior layout. Includes author’s note, downloadable audio read by Liam Neeson, and golden “All Aboard” ornament.

What Kind of Book is The Polar Express

Trusted Reviews & Ratings

English Degree, Former SAHM, Grammy Extraordinare

For more than 30 years this magical Christmas book has been delighting readers and believers and has become a traditional element of our holiday season. Be careful not to confuse the book with the more recent movie! The story, featuring Chris Van Allsburgh’s lovely pencil illustrations in a muted palette of colors, is perfectly paced. The poetic and descriptive text is a pleasure to read—or listen to, “We traveled through cold, dark forests, where lean wolves roamed and white-tailed rabbits hid from our train as it thundered through the quiet wilderness.” (Both Liam Neeson and John Hurt have made recordings.) The Polar Express celebrates belief in the magic of Christmas; our holiday season would not be complete without it!

Mr. Staccato
Spent many carefree hours hunting clues with the Hardy boys and defending Redwall Abbey.

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Who Wrote The Polar Express

author & illustrator
Chris Van Allsburg

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 was nominated for a National Book Award and in 1996, it was made into a popular feature film. Chris Van Allsburg is a former instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design. Visit him at

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Did This Book Win Any Awards

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Who was never able to hear the bell?
  1. the boy's friend
  2. the boy's parents
  3. the boy's sister
  4. the boy
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Polar Express 30th Anniversary Edition

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Book Details

ISBN 10:
ISBN 13:
Publication Date:
September 15, 2015