May. 29th, 2017

osprey_archer: (books)
Caldecott Monday! The Polar Express! We owned this book when I was a child, although it was only one of piles and piles of Christmas-themed picture books and not as bright or redolently red and green as some of the others, so I only read it occasionally.

I did quite like it, though - especially the description of the food on the train, "candies with nougat centers as white as snow" and "hot cocoa as thick and rich as melted chocolate bars." Gosh. That makes me want a cup of cocoa right now, never mind it's really too hot for it. In fact the whole train ride, the train slicing ghost-like through the dark woods at night, ever northward toward a city rimmed in lights...

As a child I also loved the bit about the bell that only rings as long as you believe in Santa - so magical - but I feel a bit more jaundiced about it now - the entire cultural obsession with teaching children to believe in Santa, and mourning it as a tragic end of innocence when they cease to believe, as inevitably they must? Is it kind of like getting a kid a pet so they will learn an Important Lesson about Death when it dies? Except in order to teach an Important Lesson about Disillusionment instead, and possibly an Important Lesson about Being Gullible if they keep believing long after the other children.

Possibly I'm just a curmudgeon.

I have never seen the movie version of this book. Should I remedy this? Or is the train ride north far less mystically beautiful in the movie than in my head?


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