Parents' Choice Foundation: Reviewing Children's Media Since 1978

Parents' Choice Awards : Books : Picture Books
The Polar Express

The Polar Express

Fall 1985 Picture Books
Ages: 5 & Up
By: Chris Van Allsburg
ISBN: 0395389496
Hardcover Price: $11.37
Christmas eve. A child peers out his bedroom window to see an old fashioned train waiting in the street below. Welcomed aboard by the conductor he joins other pajamaed children on a night ride to visit Santa Claus. Mr. Van Allsburg captures the mysterious mood of this magical journey in glowing oil pastels. They spread across generous, horizontal pages handsomely designed, frozen moments. Some double pages are especially haunting: the big engine steaming on a snowy suburban street; the train seen from afar, its tiny lights circling one mountain in a vast range; and that final silver bell. But Santa and his reindeer are as still and expressionless as painted sculpture. And the crowd scene of elves at the North Pole looks ominous, like a night meeting in Red Square. This is an interesting, original conception executed thoughtfully and with great skill. But the somber art never really illuminates the gentle rejoicing of the words.
Review   ©1985 Parents' Choice

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