Randolph Caldecott Medal

About the Randolph Caldecott Medal

Administered by:

Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC) logo

1986 Winner(s)

The Polar Express

by Chris Van Allsburg, and published by Houghton

In Van Allensburg's The Polar Express, a small boy boards a mysterious train on Christmas Eve that winds through rugged terrain and past menacing wolves.  The train arrives at the magnificent North Pole City, shrouded in winter darkness and relieved only by a multitude of tiny lights muted by the falling snow.


Oil pastels complement the rich, evocative text and capture the universal longing to believe.  The double-page spreads provide scope for the unusual perspective and slightly indistinct outlines that create a haunting atmosphere.


1986 Honor(s)

King Bidgood's in the Bathtub

illustrated by Don Wood, written by Audrey Wood, and published by Harcourt

The Relatives Came

illustrated by Stephen Gammell, written by Cynthia Rylant, and published by Bradbury