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The Polar Express

4.3  ·  Rating details ·  192,711 Ratings  ·  2,921 Reviews
Late on Christmas Eve a boy boards a mysterious train that waits for him: the Polar Express, bound for the North Pole. When he arrives there, Santa offers him any gift he desires. The boy modestly asks for one bell from the reindeer's harness. It turns out to be a very special gift, for only believers in Santa can hear it ring.
Paperback, 30th Anniversary Edition, 32 pages
Published October 1st 2015 by Andersen (first published October 28th 1985)
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Will Byrnes
A young boy is awakened from his Christmas Eve rest by a train that magically appears just outside his home. Ignoring the demands of stranger-danger, the boy climbs aboard, finding the car filled with other youngsters. They are treated to goodies while en route to the north pole where Santa is to offer the first gift of Christmas to one of the passengers in a town-square ceremony attended by all the elves as well as the transported youngsters. Our hero is selected, and when asked what he would l ...more
Dec 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A Christmas favorite we read every year. Beautiful story and illustrations. A must!
Bionic Jean
I so wanted to love this book. I had heard many friends enthuse about The Polar Express, knew it had won awards, and have a soft spot myself for illustrated fantasy books for children. But this particular one I found to be a little disappointing.

Yes, it has magical elements. In a way it is reminiscent of many Christmas stories, with the message that you just need to believe in Father Christmas and everything will turn out to be perfect. It had elements from stories I love, such as "The Snowman",
Just gave a little nudge to my sleeping Christmas Spirit who rolled over and said, "come back in two months".
Dec 26, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: the-kid-in-me
What would you like for Christmas?

I'm still in the spirit of Christmas, because Christmas isn't until the 7th of January here in Ukraine. So.....more for me. I've always loved The Polar Express movie, It can even be said that it's my all time favourite Christmas movie, but up until now, I had never read the book. There's no "why" to the story, sorry. I've read it now, and I'm delighted to say I love it just as much as the movie-maybe even a tad bit more. I love the moral of the story, abou
Dec 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.


I watched The Polar Express the movie as soon as it came out. And it became one of my favorite Christmas movies. And now I finally decided to read (well, listen actually) the book. And the book was just as magical as the movie (even though I do have to admit that I liked the movie a little bit more)

One more thing I want to mention is that Liam Neeson did an amazing job narrating the book. If you haven't a
Although I really do very much appreciate both the story (the narrative) and the illustrations, Chris Van Allsburg's The Polar Express ultimately simply feels but very mildly entertaining and actually manages to leave me rather flat and even somewhat unsatisfied. The text reads sweetly and to a point evocatively enough (but also rather on the surface, rather removed from what I would label as personal emotionality) and so much so that I never do feel all that engaged and thus more like a dispass ...more
Nov 30, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: adults trying to recapture their mythic childhoods
My general opinion of Chris Van Allsburg is that his books are made to appeal to adults, not children. None of his books has ever been a favorite of my children. This book is a perfect example. The overall story has potential--a Christmas Eve train that takes Santa-believing children to the North Pole to witness the ritual of Santa giving the first gift of Christmas. But page after page of illustration focuses on the landscape the train travels. When the Polar Express arrives at the North Pole, ...more
Dec 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brings back wonderful memories for me. A childhood favorite (and timeless classic). Beautiful story and gorgeous illustrations.
The Story: 3,5 stars

The Narration: 5 stars
“Though I’ve grown old, the bell still rings for me as it does for all who truly believe.”

Like the magical train ride, The Polar Express is a magical story, one that readers and listeners will want to enjoy again and again. It's a excellent book for a family read aloud during the Christmas season. Plus, the narration by Liam Neeson also helps ;)
Dec 02, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Arlene by: Those who believe in the magic of Christmas...
So here’s a little something about me… there are two movies I to watch around the holidays. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer Stone and The Polar Express. Yes, I’m a kid at heart and there’s just something about those two movies that, for me, make it feel like Christmas.

I think it was around the holidays several years ago that I went out shopping during Black Friday (yes call me crazy) and bought my first HP movie for the low price of like $3! And, I’ve watched the movie every year s
Sheila Majczan
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of those classics I read over and over again with my children and with my kindergarten students. The movie is also lovely.
Nhi Nguyễn
Thấy Nhã Nam có xuất bản bản tiếng Việt của cuốn này, tựa đề "Chuyến tàu Bắc Cực", mà cũng lâu rồi, lên các trang bán sách online thì chả thấy còn bán nữa, giờ chỉ còn mỗi Shopee là còn bán, mà tiền ship sách về mắc gấp đôi giá tiền bản thân cuốn sách, nên thôi bạn Nhi dẹp luôn, bạn Nhi đi down file pdf bản gốc về đọc cho sướng :))))

Mà đúng là sướng thật đấy trời ơi ^^ Hình vẽ đẹp tuyệt vời, đẹp lung linh muốn xỉu luôn :D Bản thân câu chuyện thì quá ý nghĩa, ý nghĩa nhất là trang cuối cùng, tóm
I've seen the movie a few years ago, but when I read this for storytime at work, it was my first time to actually read the story. Excellent art and sweet story...but I don't quite agree with the emphasis on "believe in Santa"... Could be a little confusing for small kids—unless, of course, you're intending to make them believe fully in Santa as the bringer of gifts. It pairs very nicely with the movie.

2017: Again, chosen reader of the book for work storytime. :)
Sep 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book will forever remind me of my kids when they were young and their eyes still sparkled with the magic of Christmas. The illustrations are beautiful and makes me want to watch the movie. ( My kids love the train and the hot chocolate song in the movie.)
“The Polar Express” is a fantastic book that proudly won the Caldecott Medal and is from the creative mind of Chris Van Allsburg. This story is about how a young boy experiences the magic of the North Pole when he goes a magical ride on the Polar Express. “The Polar Express” is a brilliant Christmas story that children of all ages will enjoy for many years.

Chris Van Allsburg has done a terrific job at both writing and illustrating this book with a passion. Chris Van Allsburg portrays the boy’s
Minh Nhân Nguyễn
4 sao

Cuốn sách có nội dung hết sức đơn giản nhưng đọc xong mình đã có một sự cảm động sâu sắc trước tình cảm và niềm yêu quý của tác giả đối với sự hồn nhiên trong trẻo của trẻ thơ. Cánh cửa bước vào thế giới ấy vẫn luôn rộng mở nhưng khi trưởng thành rồi dường như ai cũng quá vội vã với những âm thanh bên ngoài mà không nghe thấy tiếng chuông réo gọi.

Xét một cách khách quan thì đây là cuốn sách sẽ khiến trẻ con thích thú khi đọc vì có nhiều thứ kỳ diệu, có vùng đất Bắc Cực náo nhiệt chứ không t
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: christmas
I read this little book last night while I was in bed listening to a train on my magical white noise box.Trains and bells, I love them both. If only this little magical box had temple bells and wind chimes, which we have in our yard, but with our back porch’s bedroom door closed during these cold winter nights, I don’t hear them; instead I hear silence.

As a child, I remember listening to sounds at night as I lay in bed. I never heard Santa’s sleigh bells; instead I heard the neighbors' dogs bark
To check out all my reviews:

I have come to love and appreciate this book especially in a certain point of my life I actually hated it with a passion. I do not know if I ever read the english version which I probably did but I remember my 4th grade spanish teacher reading this story to us especially in the same time frame as the movie version being released. For the most part I did enjoy the book but for years I hated the film with a passion. I believe I fall
Jeff Raymond
Oct 12, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: picture-books
I hate The Polar Express.

I don't so much dislike Chris Van Allsburg, although I consider him complicit. I think Bad Day at Riverbend is a top 5 picture book for me, and his art style is great, and he can often tell a fun story (last year's Probuditi a great example).

But holy crap do I hate The Polar Express.

It's like Love You Forever - tacky, sentimental pap designed to get you to shed a tear or tug on your heartstrings or whatever. The bell! The whole thing just...throws me. I don't get it.

Dec 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This will always remain one of my favorite Christmas stories. This was my first time listening to it on audiobook and it was just magical! The sound effects of the train really brought the story to life. The sweet message gets me every time. It's such a simple and beautifully written book.
Renée Paule
Dec 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is such a charming story and I've seen the film too - very sweet.
Jan 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Just read this for the first time. There's a story here, behind the story.

My two grandsons, ages eight and four, 'found' this book, but not on the children's bookshelf which I keep for them at my house, but on MY bookcase squeezed between a book on dinosaurs (also mine) and my small collection of Nancy Drew mysteries. They ran to me with it, ordered me to sit down and read it for them. I complied.

Well, they'd both seen the movie - the older one had seen it several times - but they sat on either
Dec 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Read this, what seems forever ago. The days when my babies weren't too old to be read to. Also saw the movie. Usually if I've read a book and saw the movie, which is rare to happen, I highly favor one over the other, however this one runs pretty equal for both. All good memories and a very special story. Now I have to search on demand so I can watch this just before Christmas. The Book was one of the many losses from four years ago (will I ever get over that? Rhetorical), so I no longer have it, ...more
Davyne DeSye
Nov 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my Christmas favorites.

This story is about a boy whose friend has insisted that there is no Santa, and who is struggling to retain his belief in the "magic" of Christmas. While abed, awake and alert for the sound of a bell from Santa's sleigh, he hears a different sound -- that of a train... a train heading for the North Pole.

It's a short book and I don't want to reveal too much, but I will paraphrase a line from the book the line that most speaks for me:

Though I've grown old, I
Eva Lucia
Dec 01, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Also posted on Eva Lucias blog

A beautiful Christmas story that warms you up, even in the coldest nights.

Chris Van Allsburg has created a wonderful and beloved story. Although, it is no more than 32 pages and mostly filled with illustrations, the story stands strong in itself and in our memories after reading it.

A boy is awakened on Christmas Eve by a train that is on its way to the North Pole. Every child's dream, right? The story is beautifully illustrated, while reading it you can almost see t
Nov 10, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned-books
"I knew that I could have any gift I could imagine. But the thing I wanted most for Christmas was not inside Santa's giant bag."

Eventyret om den lille dreng og hans tur til Nordpolen julenat, er godt kendt fra den animerede film 'Polarekspressen'. Det er en årlig tradition for mig at se den søde julefilm i løbet af decembermåned, men i år ville jeg også bladre igennem den korte, men flotte bog, der er udgivet under samme navn.

Bogen er smækfyldt med de smukkeste og mest detaljerede illustratione
Aug 11, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I collect Christmas books and would eagerly scour the shelves for the newest stories each season, but for whatever reason I did not buy nor read The Polar Express - it just did not appeal to me. Then in 1987 I took my two daughters to Seattle via Amtrak to attend Maurice Sendak's stage setting of the Christmas classic The Nutcracker. Before going to the ballet, the girls and I spent an afternoon at a Christmas exhibit at the University of Washington and chanced to happen upon an older gentleman ...more
Nov 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children
The Polar Express captures all the magical warmth of many Christmases spent under the tree, drinking creamy hot chocolates and writing letters to Santa. It's wonderfully written and beautifully illustrated and evokes the sweetest child-like emotions from within me.

"Though I've grown old, the bell still rings for me, as it does for all who truly believe.”

A wonderful classic recommended to all.
Sep 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
4.5 stars
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Chris was born in Grand Rapids, Michigan on June 18, 1949, the second child of Doris Christiansen Van Allsburg and Richard Van Allsburg. His sister Karen was born in 1947.

Chris’s paternal grandfather, Peter, owned and operated a creamery, a place where milk was turned into butter, cream, cottage cheese, and ice cream. It was named East End Creamery and after they bottled the milk (and made the ot
“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.” 137 likes
“Seeing is believing, but sometimes the most real things in the world are the things we can't see.” 26 likes
More quotes…