Polar Express: A Little Girl Meets Chris Van Allsburg

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At Christmastime, we like to replace a set of coffee table books with favorite Christmas stories.  This way, we might just pick one up when we least expect it, like while the pasta water is heating.  Here is a little story about one of our favorite stories:
Once upon a time there was a little girl named Ellen (sound familiar?) who lived in Connecticut.  She was in the second grade.  Her mother, Cathy (that would be me) learned that Chris Van Allsburg would be appearing at a little book store in a nearby town to sign his new book, Polar Express. (It was new at the time.) So off we went to have our book signed, and more importantly to meet the illustrator.  We stood in line, barely able to contain ourselves … well okay … myself.  When we reached the table, the author couldn’t have been nicer.  He signed the book, while Ellen just looked at him with her big brown eyes, not saying a word.  Finally, I said, “Ellen, do you have anything you would like to ask Mr. Van Allsburg?” which really meant, “Gosh, I, the mom/illustrator have a million things I would like to ask,” but, I bit my tongue.  Then, Ellen looked at the author right in the eye and asked, “Is that really what the North Pole looks like?” And his answer was,
“That’s how I remember it.”
We both smiled and walked away with admiration and wonder.
(By the way, I’m happy to report that the bell still rings for me!)

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