The Polar Express; Wave Hello to Thomas; The Little Engine That Could

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Chris Van Allsburg; Owain Bell (illustrator.); Watty Piper


The Polar Express; Wave Hello to Thomas; The Little Engine That Could


Boston; New York; New York


Houghton Mifflin; Random House; Platt & Munk


1985; 1993; 1976


Chris Van Allsburg wrote The Polar Express based partly on his own childhood experiences playing near a steam locomotive in Michigan. The book is set during Christmas Eve and features themes of belief and nostalgia for childhood. Van Allsburg’s book won a Caldecott Medal and made the New York Times bestseller list. It was later adapted into a successful animated motion picture.
Rev. Wilbert Awdry began The Railway Series featuring Thomas the Tank Engine in 1945. Awdry wrote 26 books about the railroad engine and his friends on the fictional island of Sodor. After his passing in 1972, his works continued thanks to his son. In 1984, the books and characters were adapted into a television series called Thomas and Friends featuring the narration of Ringo Starr.

The story of The Little Engine That Could appeared at the turn of the 20th Century. It quickly became popular as a lesson in work ethic for young children and eventually found its way into numerous illustrated children’s books. This 1976 edition is a slight modification from the original tale with toys taking the place of realistic people along the railroad.