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Search tags: Chris-Van-Allsburg
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review 2019-12-23 21:24
Jumanji - Chris Van Allsburg

I generally like Van Allsburg's books, but Jumanji didn't really capture me. I wanted more illustrations and more page turns to build tension and suspense rather than having each turn play out in one spread. The story is still good. I just think it could have been more effective if the book were formatted differently. 

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review 2019-02-04 03:10
The Polar Express
The Polar Express - Chris Van Allsburg

The Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg is about a boy who boards a mysterious train: The Polar Express bound for the North Pole. Once there, Santa offers the boy any gift he desires. The boy asks for one bell from the harness of a reindeer.On Christmas morning, the boy finds the bell under the tree. The boy's mother admires the bell, but laments that it is broken because she cannot hear it ring. Only believers can hear the bell ring. 


Guided Reading: Level N


Classroom Activities: 

Extend learning about the polar regions with this lesson plan from National Geographic.


The Activity Idea Place offers a couple dozen language arts, art, and music ideas to help teach about animals of the polar regions.


Have a movie party with caramel nougat squares and hot chocolate.

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review 2019-02-02 18:04
All Aboard for an Adventure!
The Polar Express - Chris Van Allsburg

This book is another holiday classic that needs to be a part of every classroom library. Most schools participate in "Polar express day" where the students watch the movie and drink hot chocolate. I would read this book the week before Christmas Break and before that specific day. That is how I would use this book in my classroom. It is written in a DRA reading level of DRA 30 and is meant to be read at kindergarten to second grade. This book is sure to get students pumped up for the break. It is a must have!

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review 2019-01-28 04:12
The Polar Express
The Polar Express - Chris Van Allsburg

     This Christmas classic includes a young boy eager and lying awake one Christmas Eve, when he is invited aboard a magical train taking him to the North Pole. Through dark forests, over mountains, and across an ice desert, the Polar Express makes its way to the North Pole where the young boy will finally receive a Christmas wish.

     This book's reading level is ages 4-7 years. A great way to use this book would be during Christmas time. Read the book to the children and ask them why they think the author chose the wording they did. Post the book and let the children examine the illustrations. Lastly, let the children come up with their own story and illustrations.

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review 2018-01-09 18:31
The Widow's Broom by Chris Van Allsburg
The Widow's Broom - Chris Van Allsburg

Title:  The Widow's Broom

Author:  Chris Van Allsburg

Genre:  Horror / Witches / Halloween 

Year Published: 1992

Year Read: 2010

Publisher:   Houghton Mifflin Company

Source:  Library

Content Rating:  Ages 5+  (Intense Themes of Witchcraft)



“The Widow’s Broom” is a haunting story from the great mind of Chris Van Allsburg and it is about how a lonely widow named Minna Shaw finds a friend in a witch’s broom, but is threatened by the villagers to get rid of the broom because the know that it is witch crafted. “The Widow’s Broom” may have some controversial material about witchcraft, but it is a brilliant read for children who love haunting stories.

Chris Van Allsburg makes this story haunting yet memorable at the same time as it details the story of friendship between a widow and her broom and the bond that Minna Shaw and the broom share together will definitely show children about the importance of friendship even in the worse of times such as when the broom was being harassed by the villagers because it was witch crafted. Chris Van Allsburg’s illustrations are highly beautiful and haunting at the same time as the images are mainly in black and white giving the story a haunting and old fashioned feel since this story probably took place during the 1700s and the image that stood out the most was the image of the broom itself as its handle actually curves when it is doing the work for Minna and because the broom looks so innocent and friendly, many children would actually like the broom instead of fear it.


Parents should know that the theme of witchcraft in this book might be too sensitive to readers who do not approve of witchcraft, even though personally, this subject does not bother me so much since I am a huge fan of Harry Potter, but the broom in this book was friendly and he only threw up the Spivey boys and the dog because they were harassing the broom. Depending on your views on the subject on witchcraft, parents should talk about this book with their children and see how they handle the witchcraft theme.

“The Widow’s Broom” is a brilliant book about the importance of true friendship and will be an instant treat for children who love reading haunting books. I would recommend this book to children ages five and up due to the witchcraft theme might be scary for smaller children.

Review is also on: Rabbit Ears Book Blog


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