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A Wonderful Christmas Picture Book

Among the great new Christmas books are Kris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express. In 1985 this book won the Caldecott Medal for the best illustrated book of the year. The Polar Express is a book that reaffirms the importance of the world of imagination, not only for children but for us all. On Christmas Eve a little boy goes to bed, hears bells and sounds of hissing steam outside, and sees a great steam engine, snow swirling all about. The little boy rides the train through forests, over mountains to the North Pole to a great lighted city where Santa and his elves work. The boy rides with Santa in his sleigh and back on the Polar Express train the boy rides home again, but he has lost the little silver bell given him by Santa. Christmas morning, after all the other presents are opened, there’s one little package containing a silver bell and a note from Santa. “Found this on the seat of my sleigh. Fix that hole in your pocket!”

Peter Neumeyer is a professor of English at San Diego State University and highly recognized in the field of children’s literature. He is the author, editor, or translator of 10 books and over 100 articles. His articles and reviews appear regularly in Mother and Parents’ Choice. In 1994, he published The Annotated Charlotte’s Web, and he is currently assembling his second collection of poetry.

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