Tuesday, January 5, 2016

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg


I have come to love and appreciate this book especially in a certain point of my life I actually hated it with a passion. I do not know if I ever read the english version which I probably did but I remember my 4th grade spanish teacher reading this story to us especially in the same time frame as the movie version being released. For the most part I did enjoy the book but for years I hated the film with a passion. I believe I fall into this category that if I watch something and I felt okay about it but then they start playing everywhere and people are going crazy for it thats when I hate it (that has happened to me for Finding Nemo, Shark Tale, How the Grinch Stole Christmas and the list goes on).

After years and distance away from "The Polar Express" I am able to read this classic christmas book and actually enjoy it. I love the simplicity in the dialogue and takes you through an adventure without the complications and danger that the movie version showcases. Sometimes the best story telling doesn't need danger to make the plot interesting. I have to admit that the only issue I have which is really not a big deal is the text with the illustrations. I don't like how it feels chunks of dialogue carelessly shoved into the picture.

I would prefer to have the illustration in the top and the text in the bottom because it makes the dialogue and the illustration sync together and a few times the flow of the storytelling was cut off because I had to pause and read the dialogue then pause and look at the image. That is my only complaint and now back to the story.

The Polar Express is about a boy who wakes up in the night to hear a train pull up in his front yard. He cannot believe what he is witnessing and sure enough the conductor directs him inside the train. Immediately the fun begins as the boy witness other children in the train and all the hot chocolate and food you can eat. He discovers they are heading to the North Pole and once they arrive they get to see Santa and the lucky individual that Santa picks will get the 1st Christmas of the Year and guess who gets pick?

I don't want to give much away even though clearly everyone has either read this book or had someone read it to them or they have seen the film. The illustrations are spectacular and I love every moment of this book from the dialogue to that wonderful ending. I found this book to be extremely creative and one of the reasons why kids don't give up on Christmas and Santa Claus. I believe in the end regardless whether its fantasy or fiction if you have the spirit of Santa Claus in your heart then you are a special individual both inside and out.

For years I believed that Santa was real and I remember how in 3rd Grade this kid on the bus kept complaining that Santa isn't real and really ruining the fun for countless kids including myself. I remember telling myself to ignore that kid because Santa is real and sadly I saw my presents 3 weeks earlier on the christmas tree with my mother's handwriting on the tag which ruin everything.

I don't care if a parent decides using Jesus instead of Santa or remove all these christmas icons all together but I believe you should cherish a child's imagination for how long because if you ruin the fantasy then you ruin the experience and the child's imagination. I guarantee you if it weren't for that kid and my mother I would have still believe in Santa till the 4th grade and then made the conclusion on my own. I'm sorry for this rant but it gets me angry when adults or kids tell other children that Santa doesn't exist.

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