The Polar Express – 1986 Caldecott Medal Winner

The Polar ExpressAs we celebrate the holidays with friends and family, the Christmas spirit is in high gear around our house, and we are enjoying the opportunity to read several seasonal books.  I particularly enjoyed The Polar Express, a 1986 Caldecott Medal book, by Chris Van Allsburg.  Although the movie based on this book is also a family favorite, we had never before read the book.  The storylines follow the same path, but the book has far fewer details as it is only a short children’s pictures book and could not fill in all of the details required for a 90 minute film.

Caldecott Criteria:

1. “Excellence of execution in the artistic technique employed.” – We enjoyed the captivating artwork on every page of this book.  The vibrant colors and details give the reader plenty to savor.

2. “Excellence of pictorial interpretation of story, theme, or concept.” – The story is richly illustrated, but I wished more scenes could have been included.

3. “Appropriateness of style of illustration to the story, theme or concept.”-  The style brings Christmas to mind in every illustration.  The use of light and shadowing are stunning. 

4. “Delineation of plot, theme, characters, setting, mood or information through the pictures.” – The plot could almost be told through the illustrations themselves, the theme is excellently explained via the pictures, and the setting is obvious, but the mood is a bit confusing on some pages.

5. “Excellence of presentation in recognition of a child audience.” – My children enjoyed this book and had fun comparing it to the movie.

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Filed under Caldecott Medal Winners, Recommended Reads

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