Review 16: The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

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About the author

Chris Van Allsburg was born June 1949 and is an American author and illustrator of children’s books. Van Allsburg attended the College of Architecture and Design at the University of Michigan and majored in sculpture. Van Allsburg started sketching at home and his wife encouraged him to illustrate children’s books, he then went on to write and illustrate his first children’s book The Garden of Abdul Gasazi in 1979. He has won two Caldecott Medals for U.S picture book illustration, both books he also wrote. To date Van Allsburg has written and illustrated about twenty books and has also illustrated children’s books for HarperCollins.

Blurb

Late on Christmas Eve, a boy boards a mysterious train: The Polar Express bound for the North Pole. When he arrives there, Santa offers him any gift he desires. The boy modestly asks for a bell from a reindeer’s harness, but this turns out to be a very special gift…

Review

So this book was not on my Christmas reading list but I bought some Christmas presents from Waterstones and this might have slipped in on the order. I know have a problem with buying books but I regret nothing!

This evening after a long day teaching I managed to put a few more Christmas decorations up and I rewarded myself with a mug of tea and this book to read. I was really looking forward to this book as I love the film. I have been singing the soundtrack from the film all evening.

The book is about a little boy who is excitedly waiting on Christmas Eve to see Father Christmas but instead a train pulls up outside his house. This little boy is desperately hoping to hear the sleigh bells even though his friend has told him he will never hear them as Father Christmas does not exist. The little boy gets on the Polar Express to go to the North Pole to see who will be chosen to receive the first Christmas present from Father Christmas.

I enjoyed the story of the book and the significance of the little boy’s chosen gift of the sleigh bell, it made me smile but at the same time it also made me sad. The sadness came because the book shows the truth we all know so well, some people forget the magic of Christmas and lose the wonder. This I hope I never lose, no matter how busy I get at Christmas or how stressed I hope I still see the wonder, magic and beauty of the Christmas season.

The story is a lovely little children’s story and the illustrations are beautiful but I must admit I found the movie more impressive, maybe because I have known the movie longer and always loved it. I also just felt the story was rushed and I wanted the story to be a bit longer and padded out, I just could not seem to gel with the author’s writing style. I give the story 3 out of 5 stars because it made me feel a little blue instead of the warm fuzzy feeling I was after.

Lady Book Dragon

 

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Review 14: Mog’s Christmas by Judith Kerr

Mog’s Christmas by Judith Kerr

About the Author

Judith Kerr was born in 1923 in Berlin, she came to England with her family in 1933. Kerr is a British author and illustrator, who has written and illustrated many children’s books and some books for older children. Kerr was awarded an OBE in 2012 for services to children’s literature and Holocaust education.

Blurb

Strange things are happening at Mog’s house. So she runs up on the roof and there she stays… until she returns to the house with a bump!

Review

My first Christmas read this year and it was a great start. I love the Mog books even though I have not read them all, just the ones my nephews and niece own. Now some of you might be worried about a grown woman reading children’s books, but I think it is perfectly normal to read children’s books and it brings a bit of magic in to your life and Christmas is all about magic.

If you have not already met Mog, Mog is cat, a rather nervous cat who does not like change. Mog’s family are getting ready for Christmas but this is all very confusing to Mog and so Mog takes action.

This children’s book shows how confusing a time Christmas can be to animals, the house starts to change with decorations being put up and a tree going from being outside to inside. There are also strangers coming around to visit and all these new things can be overwhelming. The story is enchanting but at the same time educational to children so they understand that Christmas can also be scary to animals.

Being a cat owner I fully understand Mog’s feelings as my cats also find it difficult to deal with new experiences and people in the house. Thankfully it is all a happy ending in Mog’s Christmas story.

I really enjoyed this story and the beautiful illustrations and it brought back happy memories for me. I gave the story 4 out of 5 stars, it did not get 5 stars because I just think Kerr portrayed Mog as a little bit too dumb and cats are not that dumb.

Christmas Reading List

Happy Advent! Today is the first day of Advent and so the Christmas reading has begun.

And here it is! My Christmas reading list.

I am very excited and I can not wait for tomorrow. I will see how my reading goes as I might add to the list as December goes on. The Christmas reading list runs from 1st December to 6th January when the Christmas decorations come down.

Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry

I chose this one because I read a short story by Venronica Henry recently and really enjoyed it, so I thought I would try one of her Christmas books.

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Letters from Father Christmas by J. R. R. Tolkien

My best friend bought me this book for my birthday present and I have been saving it for my Christmas read. I am really excited about this as I absolutely adore Tolkien.

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Five at the Office Christmas Party by Bruno Vincent (based on the characters created by Enid Blyton)

These books are my guilty pleasure, I think I have read them all apart from this one, as again I have been saving it for Christmas.

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Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers

Not really a Christmas book I know but I could not resist. This book is so beautiful and special I just thought it was ideal for Christmas reading. Also the new Mary Poppins film Mary Poppins Returns is out soon and one of my saxophone students plays one of the children in the film, so I thought I had better read the book.

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Coming Home by Michael Morpurgo

I am a bit of a Morpurgo fan and when I saw this book I had to have it. I do love children’s books they always make me smile and feel all warm and fuzzy inside. I found this book by complete accident as I was looking online for another book called Coming Home and this came up in the search. Hopefully it will be a lucky find.

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Mog’s Christmas by Judith Kerr

This was chosen quite simply because I have very fond memories of reading Mog stories to my neice and nephews. I have missed Mog so much I decided to buy this as a little treat to myself.

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The Nutcracker by E. T. A. Hoffmann

Here is the big finale! As I have mentioned in a previous post I always read a new version of The Nutchracker on the run up to Christmas and here is my new copy. Another pretty book, I do love pretty books.

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I would love to hear if anybody else has a Christmas reading list. Please feel free to post a link to your blog in the comments.

Happy Advent and Happy Reading.

Lady Book Dragon

 

One Month Blogging!

So today marks exactly one month from when I started this blog.

I must admit I think I am hooked. I have got another blog, which I must admit is rather abandoned which is about lots of things really, but to be honest I lost heart with it after a while. This blog, however I have no intention of abounding as I have found what I enjoy and that is reading and talking about books.

I hope my readers so far are enjoying my posts and all the likes and follows are extremely appreciated. I’ve also discovered some new blogs to follow as well through my blogging journey.

A quick Christmas reading list update: Two new books have arrived for my Christmas reading list. I am getting very excited for the 1st December. I am so tempted to start now but I must resist.

The new books are:-

Christmas at the Beach Hut by Veronica Henry

Coming Home by Michael Morpurgo

Anyway, a big thank you to all my readers and thank you for your support so far on my blogging journey.

Happy reading and blogging everyone.

Lady Book Dragon.