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Win a Christmas book: The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg

Win a fantastic children's book to fill your children's bookcase with Tidy Book's Christmas book review and competition

On cold winter nights, what better thing to do that to snuggle up with a good book?  To get you in the mood for Christmas, we review a modern children's classic 'The Polar Express' by Chris Van Allsburg, and you can win a copy for your children!

To be in with a chance of winning, tell us what your family's favourite Christmas tradition is, whether it's funny, poignant or just something you all love doing.   To enter, leave a comment at the end.

If your children are starting to have the teeniest of doubts about Santa Claus, then this is the book for them.

The Polar Express begins with a boy's steadfast trust in Father Christmas, and as he lies awake on Christmas Eve, he is straining his ears to hear the sleigh bells.  What he hears instead is the sliding of metal on metal, and hissing steam as the Polar Express arrives.    As the boy climbs aboard, he's joining a train full of children bound for a visit to Father Christmas.

This is an incredibly atmospheric book, created mostly by the rich and beautiful illustrations.   They have a filmic quality and it's immediately easy to see how this book has translated so well to the cinema.  The depth of the illustrations reminded me of traditional Russian fairytales such as Vasilisa the Beautiful, which draw you in.  They are easily my favourite part of this book, and the five year old was captivated by them.

When the boy meets Santa Claus, he asks simply for one of the reindeer's bells as his Christmas gift.  The silver bell can only be heard by children, and as they grow up, they gradually cannot hear it anymore.  All except the boy, who, even as he grows up, continues to believe in the magic of Christmas, and the silver bell still rings sweetly for him.

The Polar Express was released as a film in 2005 starring Tom Hanks, and has become a modern children's classic story, and you can even get rides on real steam trains themed as Polar Express' such as this one in the North of England.  The Polar Express is the winner of the prestigious Caldecott Medal, and Chris Van Allburg is also author of 'Jumanji.'

The Polar Express, published in 1985 by Andersen Press is a lovely, magical read on a dark winter's afternoon!

To win a copy of The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg, all you have to do is tell us what your family's favourite Christmas tradition is, whether it's funny, poignant or just something you all love doing.

Leave your answer in the comment box below.  So we can notify the winner please confirm on our Facebook page that you have entered.

Good luck!

Tidy Books UK    Tidy Books US     Tidy Books EU    and   Tidy Books AU

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37 thoughts on “Win a Christmas book: The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg”

  • cacacac

    our tradition is putting up the xmas lights and tree on the same night as the village lantern parade. its lovely to see them all walking past while we decorate x

  • Kerry Black

    My dad used to make us wait outside the living room door while he checked to see if Santa had been, but one year he peeked out the letter box and said he knew Santa had definitely been as there was reindeer poop on the front green!

  • Lisa Troccoli

    Our family tradition is to make sure we leave a mince pie, a drop of sherry and a carrot out for Rudolph and Santa on a plate before the kids go to sleep on christmas eve, they love to see the half eaten carrot and drank sherry and crumbs of mince pie in the morning ha ha!

  • Red Rose Mummy

    We love going to choose a Christmas tree together then the elves decorate the tree while the children are in bed. I love seeing their faces in the morning when they see the tree all decorated and lit.

  • Susan Seaman

    cooking the turkey on xmas eve so there is no last minute disasters.tho this yr im cooking it xmas day as partner has to work and xmas is a day late for us on boxing day.;-(

  • michelle maggs

    On the 1st of December, Christmas music on, have a sing song and dance with the kids :) Christmas tree put up, Christmas lights around the house, Christmas decorations in all rooms. My husband has always lifted our little girl up (shes 6 years old ) so she can place the angel on top of our tree. The angel is special as it has been handed down from great Nan to us, so has been around in the family for so many years :) When great Nan was little her dad also lifted her up every Christmas when she was little to place the angel on top of the tree :) Christmas is a time to spread the happiness and Christmas Cheer

  • anna

    I like taking the kids out to see the xmas lights as they love to see them

  • Marla

    Decorating the christmas tree and sipping hotchocolate

  • Eileen Teo

    We just like to have a hotpot party!

  • Eileen Teo

    We just like to have a hotpot meal!

  • Val

    Christmas morning nobody is allowed into the lounge until my Dad has been in to check whether Father Christmas has been! (Still happens today and my brother and I are in our thirties!)

  • heather

    really looking forward to Christmas in our house this year. our children are now 2&3 so just getting Christmas for the first time :) we are starting traditions this year by s family trip to ser father Christmas tomorrow then we are putting the tree up tomorrow night when they are in bed so they wake up Sunday to a lovely Xmas surprise. We are going to the nativity service at church on Christmas eve. really looking 4ward to this year & all the smiles Christmas is going to bring.

  • Heather Charly

    Really excited this year about Christmas as its the first year our girls are old enough to get excited & understand what is going on, so we are really starting our family traditions for the first time. Tomorrow we are starting Xmas off with a trip to see Santa then tomorrow night we will put the tree up whilst the girls are asleep so it's a lovely surprise in the morning. On Xmas eve we will go to church nativity service and see what other traditions we create along the way.

  • Helena Chisholm

    Me and my husband have always baked a couple of days before Christmas; quiches, bacon and egg pie etc. it's something his mum did with him, his grandad did with his mum and we are now doing it with our eldest!!! We put on the Christmas songs, do our baking and then have a nice family picnic! It's a real family tradition!!!

  • Helena Chisholm

    Me and my husband have always baked a couple of days before Christmas; quiches, bacon and egg pie etc. it's something his mum did with him, his grandad did with his mum and we are now doing it with our eldest!!! We put on the Christmas songs, do our baking and then have a nice family picnic! It's a real family tradition!!!

  • Helena Chisholm

    Me and my husband have always baked a couple of days before christmas; things like quiches, bacon and egg pies etc. Its something his Grandad did with hid mum, his mum did with us, we did together and now we are lucky enough to be able to do it with our eldest. We put the crimbo songs on, bake our goodies and have a family picnic when we are done. You know its close to Christmas when the baking day arrives :-)

  • Mel Butcher

    My kids love it first thing in the morning when they get in bed with me to open the pressies Santa left in their room, then it's downstairs for breakfast before we open the gifts under the tree.

  • Sarah

    We make Christmas decorations for the tree.. Salt dough ornaments and glitter baubles! The kids love it and it's such a lovely tradition. We also go see Santa and look at Christmas lights. hehe.

  • Bethanbeth

    Our very young family is just starting to build up the foundations of Christmas traditions for the future. With a 2 year old boy and a 3 month old baby, my German partner and I are taking the best from both his and my festive seasons and mixing them to create our own family traditions. Hanging up the stockings will be featuring, which, although not done here in Germany, is my favourite part!

  • Kristie

    We enjoy doing advent calendars :-)

  • Mel Daniels

    We are a relatively new family as my little girl has just turned two so our traditions are still evolving - we love taking her to see Santa in December and she also always has an orange in the toe of her stocking like I did as a child ;)

  • Charlotte Bramble
    Charlotte Bramble November 30, 2012 at 9:19 pm

    Our tradition is every Christmas Eve, from lunchtime, we check Norad to see where Santa is and how many presents he has delivered.

  • Catherine McAlinden
    Catherine McAlinden November 30, 2012 at 11:19 pm

    My children are only young, so I am starting my own this year. One of them is 24 new books, one to be opened each night.

  • Hayley Wells

    In the run up to Christmas we have little advent sacks, and every night after midnight, the elves visit to leave a special little treat for the people who are trying really hard to be good! During Christmas week, we like to make home made gifts and then go and visit people with them. I make wreaths, cookies, mince pies, lebkuchen, festive chutney, and boozy fruited chocolate cake always goes down well! Everyone helps out, and the house smells fantastic! With my little man on Christmas eve, we leave a plate of goodies out for Father Christmas and his reindeer, and in the morning, there is a trail of t boot and hoof prints where they have been! We're big Polar Express fans, and this year little man is taking his first trip on the Santa Special steam train on the North Yorkshire Moors, a trip that I always made with my grandparents as a child :)

  • ToCott

    Letting the kids open their stockings anytime as long as they don't wake us...it's something our parents did, and that was the best of times with my sis...

  • ToCott

    Letting the kids open their stockings anytime as long as they don't wake us...it's something our parents did, and that was the best of times with my sis...

  • Margaret Morrison
    Margaret Morrison December 2, 2012 at 11:36 pm

    We have a fun family tradition which starts on the 1st of December called 'Elf On A Shelf'. An Elf appears in your home on the 1st of December to be the eyes and ears for Santa to see if the children have been behaving and what the children have been up to every day right up until Christmas Day. Then every night the children say goodnight to the elf and when the children are tucked up in bed, The Elf reports back to father Christmas in the north pole. By the time the children awake, The Elf is back at the house. The fun part for adults is as soon as the children are asleep The Elf can be placed anywhere around the home getting up to all sorts of things. The children enjoy trying to find The Elf every morning to see what antics hes been up to. One morning the children found the elf in the middle of making snowflakes, the next morning he was in the middle of their artwork, making snow angels, so many fun ideas! I can not express enough how much fun this is, The children just love it and we love taking part to. The best of all The Elf has 25 days of different poses and antics.

  • preety

    Having all the family together christmas morning to watch the children opening their pressie followed by breakfast then off to the in law for Christmas dinner.

  • Rachel Thomas

    One of our favourite Christmas movies and I would love to be able to ring them this story in the run up to Christmas as well

  • Leanne

    Our tradition is late on Christmas Eve the children wrap up in the dressing gowns and wellies and we go out in to the garden and sprinkle reindeer food on the lawn. It contains oats, glitter and sparkling magic stars so that Ruldolph knows where to land. The children look out in the morning to find two long sledge marks in the lawn and some hoof marks and they know the big man and Rudolph have been!!
    I am possibly just as excited as the kids by the whole process. :)

  • Leanne

    Our tradition is late on Christmas Eve the children wrap up in the dressing gowns and wellies and we go out in to the garden and sprinkle reindeer food on the lawn. It contains oats, glitter and sparkling magic stars so that Ruldolph knows where to land. The children look out in the morning to find two long sledge marks in the lawn and some hoof marks and they know the big man and Rudolph have been!!
    I am possibly just as excited as the kids by the whole process. :)

  • bonbonnyenye senbonnye sensenig
    bonbonnyenye senbonnye sensenig December 6, 2012 at 4:07 pm

    we love to spend time as a family in front of the fire christmas eve looking at slides!

  • kerry shaw

    xmas movie time with a load of sweets and nibbles

  • shelley daines

    We have chineese takeaway on xmas eve so no one has to cook. We also spend boxing day in our new xmas pj's and socks!

  • Lilly

    My dad used to always save one some years two presents till boxing day. And it used to suprise me every year!
    Iv now started doing this with my son xx

  • Donna Sadler

    Every Christmas Eve, my 7 year old son Dylan and I take the bus into town, go for a lovely meal, buy some Christmas foodie treats from the Christmas market and go and watch a Christmas Film in the cinema. Its magical everywhere on christmas Eve, the hustle and bustle, smells and atmosphere is amazing!

  • Katherine Aitken
    Katherine Aitken December 7, 2012 at 4:34 pm

    Lighting the advent candle



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