A Polar Express-themed party at the Stewart C. Meyer Harker Heights Public Library on Dec. 19 began with children getting their tickets punched and boarding the “train.”

Library Director Lisa Youngblood, dressed as the conductor, blew the whistle and the Polar Express headed for the North Pole.

Colt Thornhill, 4, of Killeen, had his ticket in hand. He was accompanied by his mother, Jennifer Thornhill, who often takes Colt to storytime and other library activities.

“Polar Express is a tradition,” she said, while Colt said his favorite part was the “choo choo train.”

Children listened as Youngblood read aloud from “The Polar Express” by Chris Van Allsburg and added sound effects. They cheered when Santa arrived, and participated in a dance party, face painting and making a craft.

Canaan Toppetta, 6, of Harker Heights, attended the party with his sister, Eleanor, and his father, Vince.

“They wanted to go so we’re actually skipping out on tae kwon do right now,” Vince Toppetta said.

“I’ve never been to a Polar Express party before,” Canaan said.

Each young guest took home a free book donated by the Friends of the Library, Youngblood said.

Canaan picked “Night of the Ninjas” from the Magic Treehouse series by Mary Pope Osbourne. Aiden Adams, 7, chose “Leprechaun in the Late Winter,” by Mary Pope Osbourne, and his brother, Raziel, 10, chose “Al Capone Does My Shirts” by Gennifer Choldenko.

Aiden said he liked his book because “it’s a high number” — No. 43 in the Magic Treehouse series.

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