The Polar Express is a 1985 children's book (ISBN 0-86264-143-8) written and illustrated by Chris Van Allsburg, a former professor at the Rhode Island School of Design. It was adapted as a Oscar-nominated motion-capture film in 2004.
The book is now widely considered to be a classic Christmas story for young children. It was praised for its detailed illustrations and calm, relaxing storyline. In 1986, it was awarded the Caldecott Medal for children's literature. The book is set partially in Grand Rapids, Michigan, the author's home town. It is published in both soft and hard-copies.
This summary is of the film and contains many details and events not contained in the book. On Christmas Eve, a young boy is hoping for belief in the true spirit of Christmas. He suddenly hears a noise from downstairs and runs to investigate. Seeing a shadow of what appears to be Santa Claus, he soon discovers that it is his parents. He runs back to his room and looks through magazines and encyclopedias for confirmation of Santa Claus and the North Pole, but to no avail. Hearing his parents coming, he runs back to bed and pretends to be asleep while his parents whisper about how he had once stayed up...