Evaluating The Polar Express

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Ameera Khan Evaluating The Polar Express The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg is one of the most popular holiday-themed children’s books since it was published in 1985, winning the Caldecott Medal award in 1986. The Polar Express takes its readers on a magical journey, both symbolically and literally, along side a little boy whose strong beliefs in Santa Claus allows him a seat on a train to the North Pole in the middle of the night. There are many picture books that rely more on the words or just the illustrations to tell their tale, however, Chris Van Allsburg manages to create the story of The Polar Express that can be told solely by his words or just by his pictures. In Barbara Kiefer’s Children’s Literature: A Brief Guide, it is states the importance that the words in a picture book have and how they “can help children develop an early sensitivity to the imaginative use of language and add to their overall…show more content…
In The Polar Express, Van Allsburg’s descriptions and illustrations are real and very much believable to his readers. In an interview in 2011 with Teachingbooks, Van Allsburg talks about his choice to create realistic images. He states that he is determined “to illustrate things that seem impossible in ways that make them seem possible – that they can happen,” (Van Allsburg, interview). His realistic look at the little boy’s journey is what caused The Polar Express to be such a hit. In Chicago, every year, the train stations host their own Polar Express in which parents and their kids board in their pajamas and eat milk with cookies while Santa Claus comes around to hand each child their very own silver bell. I had the opportunity to volunteer as an elf during high school, and by personal observation, I can attest to the fact that the adults seemed to enjoy playing along with the children and pretending to believe

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