At number 8 of the Christmas countdown (yes I sound like a wannabe Top of the Pops presenter) I have chosen The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg
Undoubtedly, most children will have seen the film before they even knew the story existed in book form but I urge anyone, fan of the film or not to read this book if only for the wonderous illustrations.
This book is quite simply, magical. It advocates everything I believe to be important to Christmas; that belief that magic exists. Only a few things can drum up such a feeling for me. The first being the Coca Cola christmas advert (even though I despise the drink) the second being a great christmas story and this is it!
For the protagonist of the book, a young boy who boards a magical train, this story ends up being far more of a fairy tale than any of us could realise. The boy is disarming in nature and will certainly bring a smile to the reader’s face for his quiet modesty.
What is not modest however is the use of pictures and believe you me, this is not a bad thing. The double page spreads of illustration are necessary to take the reader into the book, travelling with the boy on the magical train.
This is a timeless story which has the power to reunite the child with the magic and possibility that Christmas brings.