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The Family Under the Bridge

3.9 of 5 stars 3.90  ·  rating details  ·  6,684 ratings  ·  331 reviews

This is the delightfully warm and enjoyable story of an old Parisian named Armand, who relished his solitary life. Children, he said, were like starlings, and one was better off without them.
But the children who lived under the bridge recognized a true friend when they met one, even if the friend seemed a trifle unwilling at the start. And it did not take Armand very long

Paperback, 100 pages
Published October 20th 1990 by Scholastic, Inc. (first published 1958)
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Community Reviews

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I read this last night in a little under an hour, so it's a short read. I really liked parts of it, but others bothered.

For the good, it was a sweet little story of a man changing his heart because of some children he met. I enjoyed the characters. While there wasn't a lot of time spent on their development, they were lovable and you wanted so badly for their lives to get better. It was nice to see how they stuck together and tried to stay together and keep cheerful even during the hardest of t
Textbook – The Joy of Children’s Literature – P. 8
Genre – Historical Fiction

This heartening story tells the tale of a homeless old man named Armand who lives alone on the streets of Paris and is not ashamed to be termed a hobo or a tramp. His life is unexpectedly changed when children enter his life. For the first time ever he starts to feel a connection to someone and a bond that soon causes him to realize that he belongs with this family. A bond that is so strong it will ultimately cha
My son and I both loved this book. The writing is wonderful and the illustrations by Garth Williams are darling.

The story begins with a hobo who does not like children. He returns home to his spot under a Paris bridge to find three children and their mother living there. It is a gentle book, but the theme is homelessness, which is always a difficult subject. Be prepared for lots of questions from your child.

It takes place during the days around Christmas, so you may want to read it then. HOWEVER
Jul 09, 2009 Leslie rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: families at Christmas
Shelves: children-s-lit
One of the sweetest most charming books I have ever read. How I wish I would have found this when I was a girl. I would have loved it.
This is a story of some wonderful little French children who are hard on their luck and "living rough" when they encounter a bum who trys to be grumpy and unloving but falls in love with the little family. We follow them through Christmas all the way up to New Year.
The story is not an overly bleak look at homelessness (it is for children after all), and is no
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I absolutely loved this story of how a homeless family in France finds a home. Charming!
I had read many good things about The Family Under The Bridge but had never read it myself and decided to read it during the holiday season. It turned out to be a heart warming story about an older homeless man who lives out of his buggy on the streets of Paris and retires to sleep most evenings underneath a bridge. He enjoys his life – being alone, with no job or other responsibilities that tie him down. Armand is his name and he takes great pleasure in his solitary life, living simply and taki ...more
Sadie Kaminske
The Family Under the Bridge is a good book for people of all ages, because it has easy content for older people to read and if they would read it to younger kids they would get the story line also. It shows how much you really need family, and how much it hurts to be lonely. I connected with the book because it was sad to see children living on their own in the cold. Armand the old man thinks he doesn't need anybody in his life to make him happy. He likes not having a job and being a hobo. He me ...more
Dec 27, 2012 Dolly rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: parents reading with their children
This is a wonderful story about resilience and family love. The setting is in Paris, a city I love to visit, so I was excited to share this story (and a few words of French) with our girls. I'd never read it before, so I was hoping that it would be a nice Christmas tale.

I loved that the children were joyful and hopeful despite their desperate living conditions. And I loved the way that people gave from their hearts. I was a bit troubled that the mother was so prideful and seemed to be determine
Majed Alorene
This book shows us an accurate example of change to better. It is about Armand he is a homeless living under some bridge in Paris. When he came back to his place to sleep one night, he found three little kids were playing in his his place. In the beginning he didn't like them. their mother left there (under the bridge) and went to work some where. Armand began to exploit those kids as a beggars to collect a money from people. But finally he loved those kids and try to find a respected job to get ...more
Best part of the whole book:

"'To think we have fallen so low,' wept the woman. 'My children at home with gypsies.'

'What is wrong with gypsies?' asked Arman. 'Why do you think you are better? Are you kinder? Are you more generous?'

'I'm honest.' murmured the woman through her scarf.'

'What good does it do to be honest if you aren't kind and generous?' he asked. Then in a softer tone he said, 'You may think them thieves and wanderers, madame, but they are workers, too. ...

'They are thieves,' persist
Donna Crane
A timeless heartwarmer and Newbery Honor book, this story of a Parisian hobo whose life is turned upside down by the appearance of three young children and their mother under the bridge he calls home, is a beautiful story about the power of love. Many of the most poignant details of the story are sure to be missed by the ostensible target audience, but appreciated by the grown-ups. While the main characters are all homeless, or transient gypsies, they are all represented as decent, honorable peo ...more
This book was shoved into my hands at checkout by an ardent middle-aged stranger who explained that it was her absolute favorite book as a child and that I, not she, should be buying it. Her enthusiasm carried me, so I purchased it, and I can see why she was so charmed. The story of a homeless family wandering the streets of Paris during Christmas time should not be so appealing and uplifting, but this book, like few children's books can, seems to make it so. It also has some appealing moral que ...more
If you want a funny book and maybe a sad book that will make you think you should read this book.
I learned that some people dont relize thast homeless people are happy like the way they are. And some people dont want homeless people in the world or walking around Paris.
***Newbery Honor (1959)***

I hated this book. It had elements of potential to be amusing, but failed due to very shabby writing. I had hoped to enjoy it, but it was just too thread bare and shallow for my taste.
Kris at Book Wishes
Picked The Family Under The Bridge up because it was a Newbery Medal book. As a homeschooling mom I love to read Newbery books as Read-A-Louds to my children. This book was awesome, my children ages 12,11,9,7 and 4 loved this book. About a family that lost their father, leaving the mom with 3 kids homeless. The Calcet's meet an older "grandpa" man who doesn't want a reason to get attached to anyone, especially a family. Armand is the older "grandpa" character he has been living on the street by ...more
Wayne S.
Armand Pouly is an old Parisian hobo who lives under a bridge in the streets of Paris and relishes his solitary, carefree life, begging and doing odd jobs to keep himself warmed and fed. He says that children are like starlings, and a man is better off without them. However, one day just before Christmas, he returns to his home under the bridge on the Seine River to find three children, Suzy, Paul, and Evelyne Calcet, in his usual place. Their widowed mother, Madame Calcet, can no longer afford ...more
Wes Eglintine
The Family Under the Bridge written by Natalie Savage Carlson is book about an old homeless man named Armand. Armand was a short old man that wore scraggly clothing, an old beret that covered his white head and a cloudy white beard. Armand was living under a bridge in Paris. He had everything he owned in just one beat up and old baby buggy. Armand was a very kind old man but was hesitant on children. But Armand's life is about to change and he doesn't even know. One day Armand returned to his h ...more
Alison Flemming
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson (Harper Collins Publisher) 123p. Fantasy.

Summary: This story is about a family who became homeless because the mother couldn’t pay the bills. They ended up going under a bridge where they met an older man who was already living there. The older man ended up becoming an important person in the family’s life.

a. This story was very descriptive and the author did a good job at getting the readers to be able to put themselves in the stor
Alexis Kloehn
The book “The Family Under the Bridge” was a very good book. It showed how hard it is to live as a hobo especially in a place like Paris, France. I think the children and their mother were lucky to meet a man like monsieur Armand. I believe this because even though he didn’t have a home or any money, he still tried to help the family in any way that he could. This book was a very good way to show that hobos are not bad people, they just aren’t as fortunate as others. Hobos really just don’t have ...more
Powerful descriptions of homelessness in Paris and a touching story of an unlikely friendship between an old man comfortable with life on the streets and three newly homeless young siblings. This is the type of young adult book I enjoy--short and sweet, succinct. Some of the Newbery Honor books I've been reading lately (the earlier winners) have been long-winded. You almost get the sense the author was being paid by the word, or they couldn't be bothered to do basic self-editing. This story is s ...more
This book from the late 1950's is a bit dated, but super cute and a very easy read (less than an hour for the seasoned reader). The book is sweet as the Parisian children living under the bridge melt the heart of Armand who "can't abide children. Starlings they are. Witless, twittering, little pests".
The story winds through the streets of Paris marking some familiar places for the young reader. Interwoven throughout are tales of gypsies and Christmas.
The feel good ending is perhaps predictable,
Emma Frank
The Family Under the Bridge by Natalie Savage Carlson was a sweet book about an old homeless man that lived by himself under a bridge in Paris. One day he comes home to find three young children in his usual spot, he learns that they have lost their home and that they are waiting for their mom to come back from work. Armand decides to help the family find a permanent home and helps them pay their bills by getting a job in the building where they now live. In my mind, Armand is an old man with gr ...more
Aaron Schroeder
This was a good book to start off the year! Armand, a hobo who lives under a bridge in London, comes back from a walk to see three children and a dog in his "spot". From this time on, Armand finds himself in charge of the children during the day, while their mother is at work scraping for money and food. Armand and the children find themselves in many strange adventures. I think this book would be a great family book and is readable to anybody.
This was probably my first favorite book as a child. Also the first book to ignite in me an insatiable wanderlust. What's not to love - Christmas in Paris, hoboes, and gypsies, Notre Dame glowing, and roasted chestnuts. I recently reread this for nostalgia. As warm as I remembered it to be.
Good Christmas read. A sweet Newbery honor book from the 1950s about the homeless in Paris. My favorite quotes: "What good does it do to be honest if you aren't kind and generous?" And from the gypsy woman: "We do not take money from our friends . . . only from strangers."
I decided to pick up a classic. It was a delightful story about an old hobo on the streets of Paris who comes across a family of homeless children. A sobering book, but not too heartwrenching - you can still laugh with this one. A good book for these hard economic times.
This book is abotu a family that has 3 kids and they meet the old man and he becomes their grandpa. Then the move to live with the gypsies. Then the Mom and Grandpa want to save money to buy a house. The Grandpa goes to get a job and it comes with a house.
Janeen Hare
I loved this story about a hobo that does what he can to help some homeless, fatherless children that he accidentally falls in love with. It is entertaining from start to finish and I consider it one of the best stories ever written for children.
A lovely book, with some great illustrations! Quite heart warming in places, a little sad in others. What I liked is the amount of questions this raised with my children. Could see them thinking long after book was done.
This was a beautiful book with layers of meaning. It's not perfect, but I consider it a classic! A great short winter book best read aloud to children, as there are many things to talk about!
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Goodreads Librari...: Wrong First Published Date 3 10 May 04, 2015 01:59PM  
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Natalie Savage Carlson was born on October 3, 1906, in Kernstown, Virginia. After she married, she moved around a great deal as the wife of a Navy officer, living for many years in Paris, France.

Her first story was published in the Baltimore Sunday Sun when she was eight years old.

Her first book, The Talking Cat and Other Stories of French Canada (where her mother was born), was published in 1952.
More about Natalie Savage Carlson...
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