Wednesday, November 4, 2015

All Aboard For The Polar Express 30th Anniversary!

Polar Cover

Christmas is my favorite time of year! I love the falling snowflakes, the twinkling lights on the Christmas tree, the anticipation of presents being opened, the smell of pine in the air and all of the memories that come with Christmas. More than that, I love the magic of the season and the overwhelming feeling that anything is possible and that miracles can happen if we believe. The Polar Express has become part of Our Southern Style's family tradition. We have always shared the movie together and now thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, who provided the book pictured above at no cost to facilitate this review, our family can read and enjoy this wonderful classic, in a new and memorable way this Holiday season.

  Polar 1 

The Polar Express 30th Anniversary Edition

Our Southern Style's sweet 7-year-old Eva, was so excited to open the cover and turn the pages of this enchanting book. She knows the story well, but year after year the magic of The Polar Express just never seems to wear off. She, like all of my children, sat on the edge of their seats as we read this story and happily climbed aboard the blissful reminder that Christmastime is the perfect time to believe!

  Thirty years ago, a mysterious train steamed up to a young boy’s front door, taking him on a trip he would never forget. Told as a first-person recollection and richly illustrated in oil pastels, Chris Van Allsburg’s The Polar Express is a story of the faith that children bring into the world. 

For millions of families worldwide, this boy’s Christmas Eve journey has become a part of their own holiday traditions. The Polar Express, first published in 1985, has been honored with a Caldecott Medal, the highest accolade in children’s books; inspired dozens of seasonal train rides around the country; served as the theme for countless elementary school pageants; and perhaps most important of all, remains a steadfast reminder to readers young and old of the true magic of Christmas. In this 30th anniversary edition, the inimitable artistry of Chris Van Allsburg is revealed in a never-before-seen fashion, with a new jacket design and expanded interior layout, and includes a letter from Van Allsburg, downloadable audio read by Liam Neeson, and a golden keepsake ornament. - Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Polar collage

From cover to cover this book sings of Christmas magic. I love that the colors are not bright and bold, but rather soft and dreamy helping the reader imagine the perfect atmosphere of the arrival and adventure of this enchanted tale. Pictures fill the pages which pulls even my youngest 3-year-old into the wonder of the story. The front jacket and cover keeps this book protected from little fingers that are sure to be treasuring this book for years and years. With four children clamoring over one book, I"m sure the cover won't last forever, but I love protecting this special publication while I can. I was able to download the audio version of this book as well (I downloaded to my laptop) and my kids have already been enjoy listening to the story while they follow along. It didn't take them long to figure out the voice they heard was non other than "Aslan" (aka Liam Neeson - who does the voice of the lion in the movie version of The Lion, The Witch, And The Wardrobe. They thought it was pretty cool and I thought it extra special, and added even a little bit more magic, to have this story narrated by another special literary character.
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The book also includes a small keepsake ornament, perfect for your special little guy or gal to hang on the tree. This is by no means a heavy or expensive ornament but (as you will learn from the story of The Polar Express) the monetary value is not what makes is special. Every year my family anticipates a memorable evening, like my Mom did with our family when I was younger, to decorate the tree. We make popcorn and hot cocoa, and watch our favorite Christmas movies and specials while we decorate the tree. My husband I let the kids carefully unwrap ornaments one by one and let them hang them on the Christmas tree. We certainly do have some more coveted and expensive ornaments, which our oldest daughter, or my husband or I will hang to make sure they don't get broken accidentally. My youngest, Levi, will get the honor this year of hanging our Polar Express ornament, a special ornament that he's not able to break.


This year, in honor of The Polar Express 30th Anniversary HMH will mark this milestone publishing event with an extensive social media book donation campaign. Every time the hashtag #ReadandBelieve is used on various platforms, a copy of The Polar Express will be donated to Christmas in the City, a Boston-based nonprofit helping families in need. Readers and fans can share quotes from the book, holiday wishes, or family traditions, and the like. Click on the Giveaway Tools link below to "Tweet" about the giveaway - which gives you extra chances to WIN and gives you an opportunity to take part in such a wonderful cause!

 If your family has never had the magical experience of The Polar Express, don't let another Christmas pass you by without picking up a copy of this wondrous book for your own family!

You can order your own 30th Anniversary Edition from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt HERE or look for copies where ever books are sold.

 Visit the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt website to find thousands of other remarkable holiday books, children's books and more!

 Follow HMH on social media to make sure you never miss out on new publications and offers!

  Polar Giveaway

 Two lucky readers will win their own copies of The Polar Express 30th Anniversary Edition, complete with keepsake ornament and free downloadable audio version narrated by Liam Neeson. The giveaway will end November 19th, 2015 at 11:59pm. Open to residents of the US only and must be 18 years old to enter. Enter using the Giveaway Tools entry form below.  

  Disclosure: I was sent the items listed above at no cost to facilitate this review. Prize fulfillment is the responsibility of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and not Our Southern Style or Thrifty Nifty Mommy. This giveaway is not associated with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.


  1. I think the Family Christmas Treasury would be lovely .

  2. We would love The Christmas Tugboat.

  3. We'd also like to own "Twas the Night Before Christmas"

  4. I think Tallulah's Nutcracker would be fun for the Holidays.

  5. I like those Curious George Christmas books

  6. We love Tacky and all things penguins so probably Tacky's Christmas.

  7. I would love to have Miss Nelson Is Missing! for my granddaughter.

  8. The other holiday book I'd love to have is the Auntie Claus deluxe edition.
    My name on the entry form is Joni Mason.

  9. My son would love the Christmas Tugboat!

  10. I would also like to have Tallulah's Nutcracker!!

  11. I would also love to have the Curious Baby Curious about Christmas (Curious George touch-and-feel board book) for my toddler!

  12. We like the Box Set 'Friends!'; it would be fun to read about these special friendships: 'We Go Together!', 'When I Was Five', 'Hachiko' and 'When Stravinsky Met Nijinsky'.

    **a note**
    You might also tell them that their site is a disaster where it is nearly impossible to locate anything. It is also riddled with typos and spelling errors (including in the title and description of this very box set); not very inspiring for a famous and venerable American book imprint!

  13. I'd like to get the book Auntie Claus deluxe edition for my great niece and great nephew :)

  14. I think the Holiday Candy & Confections book looks great