3 little Miracles

3 little Miracles

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

26 Children's Christmas Books in 25 Days Day #9

A little late in the day, but the 2 little Boys and I have had a busy day that included reading one of the greatest Christmas stories every, The Polar Express written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg. This story brings together some of the best things that children love especially 2 litle Boys, Santa, Train's, and life like images that draw you in to explore very detail.

The Polar Express starts on the night of Christmas Eve when our young narrator lays in his bed trying to listen for Santa's sleigh bells so he can discover once and for all if Santa is real.  The age old question for young children, is the man in the red suite something our parents made up, the spirit of a wonderful idea, or the real thing?  As the young man waits he hears the sound of hissing steam and screeching metal instead of the tinkle of sleigh bells, and when he looks out his window he discovers a glorious train waiting in his front yard.  The author paints a beautiful image in words, "It (the train) was wrapped in an apron of steam.  Snowflakes fell lightly around it."  The Conductor calls "All aboard"  and the boy runs to the train in his slippers, pajamas, and robe.  "Where we going?" the boy asks  "Why to the North Pole of course, this is the Polar Express" replies the conductor.  (Of course I can't help but hear Tom Hanks voice saying that line as I read it just as he does in the Polar Express movie).

The train is filled with other children, and as the train takes off for the North Pole the children sing Christmas carols, eat yummy candies, and drink thick rich cocoa as the lights of towns and villages flicker past the train windows. Soon the train leaves the twinkle of lights behind and travels through dark forests, over mountains, over peaks, and through valleys until the reach the Great Polar Ice Cap.  "Like the lights of a strange ocean liner sailing on a frozen sea" the North Pole becomes visable to the children through the train windows.

At the North Pole the streets seem to be abandoned until the train approaches the city center were the streets become crowded with elves.  The children all wonder aloud who will get the frist gift of Christmas, the Conductor replies, "He will choose one of you".  After the children leave the train, they press through the crowd of elves to get closer to Santa, he chooses our young narrator as the one to recieve teh first gift of Christmas.  "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.  What I wanted more than anything was one silver bell from Santa's sleigh."

The first gift of Christmas is given but for me that is where the book can end, not because I want it to, but because the boy didn't choose a new truck, train, plane, or shinny toy . . . . . he choose the gift that represented the very SPIRIT of Christmas . . . . . . . one of Santa's sleigh bells.  The young boy hears the sound of the bell all of his life, but like many children his sister and friends stop hearing the sound of the bell after several years.  However, our young narrator held on to the very spirit of Christmas no matter how much the world tried  to steal it away from him.

This book is the perfect book or gift for Christmas and will be a wonderful addition to your Christmas traditions.  Imagine sitting with your children circled around you, hot cocoa in hands, while you read this enchanting story to them.  AHHHH Christmas bliss wrapped up in the pages of The Polar Express.


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