About the Novel: One Christmas Eve many years ago, a boy lies in bed, listening hard for the bells of Santa’s sleigh, which he has been told by a friend do not exist. Later that night he hears not bells but a very different sound. He looks out his window and is astounded to see a steam engine parked in front of his house! The conductor invites him to board the Polar Express, a train filled with children on their way to the North Pole.
The train takes the children to the center of the city, where Santa and the elves have gathered for the giving of the first gift of Christmas. The boy is chosen to receive this first gift. Knowing that he can choose anything in the world, he decides on a simple gift: one silver bell from Santa’s sleigh. Santa cuts a bell from a reindeer’s harness and the delighted boy slips it into his bathrobe pocket as the clock strikes midnight and the reindeer pull the sleigh into the sky.
When the children return to the train, the boy realizes the bell has fallen through a hole in his pocket. Heartbroken, he is returned to his home. In the morning, his little sister finds one small box with the boy’s name on it among the presents. Inside is the silver bell! The boy and his sister are enchanted by its beautiful sound, but their parents cannot hear it. The boy continues to believe in the spirit of Christmas and is able to hear the sweet ringing of the bell even as an adult.
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.
About the Author: The writer of “The Polar Express” is an American author. Chris Van Allsburg is a very well known writer of the children books. Not just this but he is a very good illustrator as well.
Parents, educators, and children have been known to develop a kind of obsession with the books of Chris Van Allsburg. His work appeals to diverse audiences because it is neither simplistic nor formulaic. Van Allsburg doesn’t write with an eye toward what an eight-year-old child might enjoy, but rather what he himself would like. The only consistent element in his books is the always fascinating, often mysterious, and occasionally menacing way he approaches the question “What if?” What if a boy awoke one night to find a massive steam engine in front of his house? What if a roll of the dice on a simple board game could actually bring the game to life? What if a witch had to retire her flying broom?
In 1972, he graduated with a degree in sculpture and moved to Providence, Rhode Island, where he continued his studies at the Rhode Island School of Design. Shortly after he received his graduate degree, Van Allsburg began to show his sculptures in New York City galleries, where their surreal imagery quickly won him a reputation as an artist to watch. He didn’t begin drawing until 1979, when his teaching commitments at RISD and a cold studio too far across town kept him from his sculpture.