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Please forward this error screen to 104. This article is about the book. The Polar Express is a children’s book written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg and published by Houghton Mifflin in 1985. The book is now widely considered to be a classic Christmas story for young children although the point has been challenged.
It was praised for its detailed illustrations and calm, relaxing storyline. For the work Van Allsburg won the annual Caldecott Medal for illustration of an American children’s picture book in 1986, his second. The book is set partially in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the author’s home town, which was inspired by the Herpolsheimer’s and Wurzburg’s department stores.
It was adapted as an Oscar-nominated motion-capture film in 2004 starring Tom Hanks and directed by Robert Zemeckis with Van Allsburg serving as an executive producer on the film. A young boy, who used to adore Christmas, hears a train whistle roar.
To his amazment he finds the train is waiting for him. He sees a conductor who then proceeds to look up at his window. He runs downstairs and goes outside.
The conductor explains the train is called the Polar Express, and is journeying to the North Pole. The boy then boards the train, which is filled with chocolate and candy, as well as many other children in their pajamas.
As the train reaches the North Pole, the boy and the other children see thousands of Christmas elves gathered at the center of town waiting to send Santa Claus on his way. The boy is handpicked by Santa to receive the first gift of Christmas. Realizing that he could choose anything in the world, the boy asks for one bell from one of the reindeer’s harnesses. The boy places the bell in the pocket of his robe and all the children watch as Santa takes off into the night for his annual deliveries.