The Polar Express (Read-Aloud) [NOOK Book]

Overview

Since its publication in 1985, Chris Van Allsburg’s holiday classic has sold millions of copies and has come to signify the essential spirit of Christmas for countless readers. 

Readers young and old are sure to treasure this inspiring book, which brings to life the magic of Christmas for all who believe.

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The Polar Express (Read-Aloud)

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Overview

Since its publication in 1985, Chris Van Allsburg’s holiday classic has sold millions of copies and has come to signify the essential spirit of Christmas for countless readers. 

Readers young and old are sure to treasure this inspiring book, which brings to life the magic of Christmas for all who believe.

Read More Show Less
  • The Polar Express
    The Polar Express  

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Several treasured titles make a comeback as reissues. In preparation for the November release of the book-based film starring Tom Hanks, Houghton has reshot the artwork for the 1986 Caldecott Medal- winning The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg, sprucing up this perennial holiday favorite. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Children's Literature
A young man tells a story of his childhood and how his belief in Santa comes to life one snowy Christmas Eve. Although his friends tell him "there is no Santa," he still believes he will hear the bells of Santa's sleigh. Those beliefs come true when the Polar Express takes him to the North Pole. When they come to the North Pole, Santa chooses the protagonist to be the recipient of the first gift of Christmas. The boy wants something small and meaningful: a bell from Santa's sleigh. The bell symbolizes the belief in Santa and the spirit of Christmas, and only those who believe can hear the magical sound of the bell. The thrilling story along with detailed and colorful illustrations can make anyone believe in the spirit of Christmas. This twentieth anniversary edition includes illustrations that are filled with amazing contrasts of light and dark, making the pictures feel alive. The detailed words and artwork on every page, make readers feel as if they also are living the dreams of the little boy. 2005 (orig. 1985), Houghton Mifflin, Ages 5 to 10.
—Liz Martin
School Library Journal
Gr 1-3 Given a talented and aggressive imagination, even the challenge of as cliche-worn a subject as Santa Claus can be met effectively. Van Allsburg's Polar Express is an old-fashioned steam train that takes children to the North Pole on Christmas Eve to meet the red-suited gentleman and to see him off on his annual sleigh ride. This is a personal retelling of the adult storyteller's adventures as a youngster on that train. The telling is straight, thoughtfully clean-cut and all the more mysterious for its naive directness; the message is only a bit less direct: belief keeps us young at heart. The full-page images are theatrically lit. Colors are muted, edges of forms are fuzzy, scenes are set sparsely, leaving the details to the imagination. The light comes only from windows of buildings and the train or from a moon that's never depicted. Shadows create darkling spaces and model the naturalistic figures of children, wolves, trees, old-fashioned furniture and buildings. Santa Claus and his reindeer seem like so many of the icons bought by parents to decorate yards and rooftops: static, posed with stereotypic gestures. These are scenes from a memory of long ago, a dreamy reconstruction of a symbolic experience, a pleasant remembrance rebuilt to fufill a current wish: if only you believe, you too will hear the ringing of the silver bell that Santa gave him and taste rich hot chocolate in your ride through the wolf-infested forests of reality. Van Allsburg's express train is one in which many of us wish to believe. Kenneth Marantz, Art Education Department, Ohio State University, Columbus
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780547626925
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/28/1985
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Enhanced
  • Pages: 32
  • Sales rank: 130,792
  • Age range: 5 - 8 Years
  • File size: 17 MB
  • Note: This product may take a few minutes to download.

Meet the Author

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 was formerly an instructor at the Rhode Island School of Design. He lives in Rhode Island with his wife and two children.

Biography

Multiple Caldecott Medal winner Chris Van Allsburg grew up in the 1950s in and around Grand Rapids, Michigan. He majored in sculpture at the University of Michigan's College of Architecture & Design and graduated in 1972. He received his M.F.A. in 1975 from Rhode Island School of Design.

After graduate school, Van Allsburgh set up a sculpture studio in Providence, married and settled in the area, and began exhibiting his work in New York City and throughout New England. Around the same time, he became interested in drawing. His wife, Lisa, encouraged him to pursue children's book illustration, putting him in contact with her friend David Macauley, a successful artist and author. Macauley's editor at Houghton Mifflin was impressed by Van Allsburgh's work and advised him to try his hand at illustrating a story of his own. His maiden effort, The Garden of Abdul Gasazi, was published in 1979 and received a Caldecott Honor Medal.

Since that auspicious beginning, Van Allsburgh has gone on to produce a string of wonderfully inventive, critically acclaimed, and award-winning books. He gathers inspiration from unlikely quarters -- the progress of ants across a kitchen counter, crayon streaks in a child's coloring book, a children's board game come to life -- and executes his ideas on a provocative but surefire "What if..." principle.

Among his many awards are two Caldecott Medals -- one for Jumanji, written in 1982 and the other for 1985's The Polar Express; a National Book Award (also for Jumanji); and the Regina Medal for lifetime achievement in children's literature.

Good To Know

Van Allsburg's grandfather owned and operated the East End Creamery and delivered milk and milk products to homes around the Grand Rapids area in yellow and blue trucks.

One of Van Allsburg's childhood homes was a big, Tudor-styled house on a wide, tree-lined street. He used the street as a model for the cover art of what is arguably his most famous book, The Polar Express.

Because so many students at Van Allsburg's high school excelled academically, representatives from the University of Michigan would visit each year to interview interested seniors and admit them on the spot if they met qualifications. During his senior year, Van Allsburg was told about the art program affiliated with the University's College of Architecture & Design and thought it sounded like fun. Although he had never had any formal art classes, he fibbed to the admissions officer, saying he had taken private lessons outside of school.

Two of Van Allsburg's bestselling books, Jumanji and The Polar Express, were subsequently turned into blockbuster movies.

Van Allsburg is not your typical "feel good" children's author. He has been known to handle darker themes, and his stories often involve bizarre worlds and dreamscapes.

In all his stories, Van Allsburg inserts a little white bull terrier modeled after a real-life dog owned by his brother-in-law. (Another popular children's author, David Shannon, does the same thing, but Shannon's pup is a Westie!)

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    1. Hometown:
      Providence, Rhode Island
    1. Date of Birth:
      June 18, 1949
    2. Place of Birth:
      Grand Rapids, Michigan
    1. Education:
      University of Michigan College of Architecture & Design, 1972; Rhode Island School of Design, MFA, 1975
    2. Website:

Read an Excerpt

"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. 'There is no Santa,' my friend had insisted, but I knew he was wrong. Late that night I did hear sounds, though not of ringing bells. From outside came the sounds of hissing steam and squeaking metal. I looked through my window and saw a train standing perfectly still in from of my house."

Copyright (C) 1985 by Chris Van Allsburg. All rights reserved.
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 284 )
Rating Distribution

5 Star

(183)

4 Star

(45)

3 Star

(21)

2 Star

(8)

1 Star

(27)

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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 284 Customer Reviews
  • Posted December 16, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Gorgeous in NOOKbook format!

    I had never read The Polar Express before downloading it on my NOOKcolor. It was a little more money than I'll usually spend on a NOOKbook, but I figured since it was such a classic, I'd give it a try. I am SO glad I got it! The "Read to Me" is beautiful. Narrated by Liam Neeson, the audio track has voice, music, and even sound effects. My two-year-old sat through almost the whole story the first time we listened to the "Read to Me" together. A wonderful family experience - I highly, highly recommend this book!

    42 out of 49 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted April 24, 2011

    WHY?? So Much?

    Everyone knows this is a good story, but why the high cost? Might as well buy the book which will last a life time vs this reader that will eventually be an out dated device. *gave low star rating due to price*

    26 out of 39 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 30, 2011

    To Expensive!

    I agree for an Ebook 18 to 19 dollars is way too much, I didnt buy it, I would have but not for that price. I would rather get in paper.

    20 out of 28 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted March 2, 2011

    Really!

    I would be out of my mind to pay this much for this book! At the library its Free on cd or tape! I have the book and the movie! It is a truly amazing and magical story, but it is WAY too expensive! I took my son on the polar express train ride, a real train, the story was read the waiters danced and gave out hot chocolate it was great! And it didnt cost this much for his ticket! Sad that they would charge this much, shame on them!

    18 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted February 8, 2011

    Agree on price-too high

    I am writing this on my color nook, so i will be brief. i know that publishers set the price. i suppose the idea is it is worth more in color...but as a classic it should be cheaper, not moere expensive. Shame on the publisher. To answer the comment on how much is a child's smile worth? it's worth buying five OTHER books that's what it is worth.

    13 out of 18 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 15, 2011

    expensive

    its way to expensive my mom has the kindle and she got it for 3 dollars

    13 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 23, 2012

    !

    I love this story i always have,always will. But 19 dollars?!?!? If you want to read this book, i would suggest going to a library

    11 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 17, 2011

    Great book but super expensive

    Awsome but $18 is to much

    11 out of 16 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2011

    Kidding me?

    Wayyyyyyy to expensive - stop trying to rip us off

    10 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 26, 2011

    grrrrr

    it costs so much!!

    10 out of 14 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 13, 2011

    stupid

    TOO EXPENSIVE!!!!!!!!!!!!! $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    7 out of 13 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted April 22, 2012

    No

    Why would someone pay almost 20 bucks for a BOOK??? U just have to read it. Then its over... stupid why would somebody do that? Wow. Tiny brains that dont know how to think. What a waste of money. :(

    6 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 27, 2011

    Great book...cant record your own voice on nook color

    One reviewer mentioned recording your own voice...this is only on nook tablet, but great book with beautiful narration and background music.

    6 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 3, 2011

    Stupid idiots. It's leess expensive than than the printed book. Go to a bookstore. You will find that chilldren's picture books cost a MINIMUM of $16.99!

    5 out of 17 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 21, 2011

    Gorgeous book for Adults too!!

    What a beautiful book!! I'm 45 but always loved this story for years now. The read to me feature is wonderfully narrated nd you can record your voice for your loved ones. I'm reading this from my Nook Tablet.

    5 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted November 13, 2012

    I know some people feel this ebook is too expensive at $18.95, b

    I know some people feel this ebook is too expensive at $18.95, but I feel differently. It's so beautiful on my new NOOK HD+. It has a huge screen with great resolution. And Liam Neeson's narration makes it even better. When my hardcover version got tattered from wear, I found out my digital book would live on in my library, no many how many NOOKs I buy over the years. That's a great savings! Merry Christmas, everyone.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 16, 2012

    EPIC

    Very epic

    4 out of 7 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted December 28, 2011

    This is a great book.

    This book is a great christmas story. If you like the book watch the movie. If you like the movie read the book

    4 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted November 30, 2000

    My Favorite Christmas Book For 11 Years

    This is the best christmas book ever! I got this Christmas eve 11 years ago. Every Christmas eve since my dad sits down with me (I'm now 18) and my older brother and sister and we hear the story of the polar express. And we still here the bell ringing.

    4 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 4, 2013

    Bought the Nook book for $9.99...beautiful book but it's read VE

    Bought the Nook book for $9.99...beautiful book but it's read VERY slowly with lots of giant pauses so my toddler lost interest pretty quickly. Otherwise, it's a great book.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 284 Customer Reviews

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