The Definitive Guide to

The Polar Express

Written & illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg
6.42 / 7.0
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Sep 15, 2015
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What's This Book About

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

Quotes from This Book

  • “On Christmas Eve, many years ago, I lay quietly in my bed. I did not rustle the sheets. I breathed slowly and silently. I was listening for a sound- a sound a friend had told me I’d never hear- the ringing bells of Santa’s Sleigh.”
  • “At one time most of my friends could hear the bell, but as years passed, it fell silent for all of them. Even Sarah found one Christmas that she could no longer hear its sweet sound. Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me as it does for all who truly believe.”

Trusted Reviews & Ratings

English Degree, Former SAHM, Grammy Extraordinare
7.0 / 7.0

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.
6.0 / 7.0
B is for Bookworm
Book-loving mommy-to-be! Recently enjoyed The Hobbit, Becoming, and The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel.
6.25 / 7.0

Book Lists That Include The Polar Express

Book Topics › Santa Claus
Children's Books About Santa Claus
Book Topics › the North Pole
Children's Books About The North Pole
Book Topics › books made into movies
Treasured Children's Children's Books Turned Movies
Book Topics › caldecott
Captivating Caldecott Children's Books
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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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What Has Chris Van Allsburg Said About This Book

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Did This Book Win Any Awards

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Who illustrated "The Polar Express"?
  1. Dr. Seuss
  2. Chris Van Allsburg
  3. Maurice Sendak
  4. Brad Holland
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Book Details

Publication Date:
September 15, 2015
ATOS® Book Level:
Accelerated Reader® Points:
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