I watched the film version the other day and I just had to revisit this classic picture book 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; the belief that magic exists. 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. The double page illustrations let us share with the young boy the true magic he experiences on the Polar Express. Because really, who DOESN’T want to be served hot chocolate by all singing all dancing waiters. Beautiful.
This is a timeless story which has the power to reunite the child with the magic and possibility that Christmas brings.
The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg is published by Andersen Press, £6.99 and is winner of The Caldecott Medal