Chris VanAllsburg, Polar Express, Herpolsheimers' Grand Rapids Connections

I have a lot of hobbies and interests. One is incunabula, particularly collecting children's literature. I'm not au currant in modern adult fiction, but juvenilia I speak fluently. A favorite author/illustrator is Chris VanAllsburg--of Jumanji, The Polar Express (books, then movies) fame. When I was in college and a new teacher, VanAllsburg was writing and illustrating some of his best works. My favorite is a little-remembered volume of M.C. Escher-ish pictures with intriguing captions "The Mysteries of Harris Burdick." I used that extensively in creative writing with my Montessori students in the 80s. And I just discovered a neat connection. VanAllsburg is from my hometown Grand Rapids. I think the train he used for the Polar Express was modeled on Herpolsheimer's Santa Express--a little train that went around the top of the store, that all us kids rode years ago.  Oh, and here's a free printable Polar Express party kit perfect for children's Christmas festivities or birthday parties. Read more. Chris VanAllsburg is from My Hometown

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