Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Family Under the Bridge” as Want to Read:
The Family Under the Bridge
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Family Under the Bridge

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  10,300 ratings  ·  625 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, 123 pages
Published April 12th 1996 by HarperCollins (first published 1958)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Family Under the Bridge, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Susan g*psy is a slur, so I'd be wary of reading it aloud in class

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Rating details
Sort: Default
Susan Budd
Nov 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
As the Christmas season draws near, I am reminded of a beautiful children’s book set in Paris at Christmas time ~ The Family Under the Bridge, by American author Natalie Savage Carlson. The Family Under the Bridge is a celebration of the City of Light, a celebration of generosity and kindness, and a celebration of family sticking together through tough times.

Reading this book is like being taken on a walking tour of Paris. And no ordinary walking tour of Paris ~ a walking tour of Paris conduct
Nov 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
Ordered this last year from the kids' book order, because it was a) a Christmas book I've never heard of, and b) a Newbery Honor book I had never heard of. Then I ended up not reading it aloud to the kids as I had intended, because I saw some reviews saying that it would be upsetting for kids who believe in Santa Claus. This year I thought I'd better read it first, since my daughter (just turned 8) wanted to read it.

Hm. I guess those reviews about it ruining Santa are from people who expected S
Aug 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Readers who enjoy stories of hardship and finding a home
Recommended to Hilary by: Ivan
Monsieur Armand is a homeless person living in Paris, sleeping under bridges and I think the book suggests, is happy with his lot. He then meets a widow and her children. The children soon become attached to Monsieur Armand and call him Grandfather. The story tells of the hardships of living on the street but the kindnesses encountered too. We liked the part where they lived with the gypsies and the christmas eve party.

This was a lovely story but I don't know why the author continually refered t
Oct 01, 2017 rated it it was ok
Hard work, determination, the support of others, and maybe just a bit of luck on your side can really turn things around. Those should have been the lessons learned from reading this but that's not the message I was picking up. I must be missing something, I don't understand the appeal and the numerous great reviews. Underwhelming even for this softhearted reader. 1 1/2 stars.
Erin *Proud Book Hoarder*
A truly heartwarming story for all ages. I fell in love the aged hobo who was content in life just being in his version of freedom, the adorable dog who should have been white but wasn't, Jo-Jo, the small children with their cute questions and wonders. Suzy who wanted school, Paul who would have been just as happy never going back.

The book has different turns and events in the decently sized children's story - from different homes to different discoveries. Some nudges of coy humor slip in (like
Saleh MoonWalker
آرماند پولی، به عناون یه بی خانمان توصیف شده، البته نه اون شکلی که این کلمه امروزه معنا میده. ترجیح میده آزاد باشه و توی خیابان های پاریس زندگی کنه تا اینکه زیر بار قبض و مسئولیت باشه. با انجام کارهای عجیب و گدایی، اونقدری پول درمیاره که بتونه روزش رو سر بکنه. وقتی هوا سردتر میشه و به کریسمس نزدیک میشن، او سه کودک رو پیدا میکنه که زیر پل، جایی که اون زندگی میکنه، دارن زندگی میکنن. سوزی، پاول و اِویلین و سگشون جوجو، منتظرن تا مادرش از سر کار برگرده. اونا سریع توی قلب آرماند جا باز میکنن با اینکه ...more
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
Sarah Grace Grzy
Nov 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sweet story! The writing was lacking somewhat, but can we all just agree that the illustrations are adorable?!?! <3
Krista the Krazy Kataloguer
I absolutely loved this story of how a homeless family in France finds a home. Charming!
Rebecca McNutt
This was a truly wonderful and well-written story for children and adults, with detailed illustrations, originality and a plot with themes of love, friendship and finding hope in bad situations.
Liz F.
This was a fun little read that I read almost all on Sunday morning! :) I haven't read it in years and decided to again! Very fun and I recommend! :)
Sep 21, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: older-kids
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
Dec 14, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jul 09, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Stacey Borror
Oct 14, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
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
Jan 13, 2008 rated it it was amazing
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.
This is a story of transformation: Armand, a Parisian hobo, meets three fatherless little children who have recently lost their home. He discovers them under a bridge where their mother has left them for the day while she's at her job. Armand is a crusty old guy, but his soft heart is moved by their plight and he grudgingly decides to take them under his wing. In the process of entertaining and caring for these children, he learns some important lessons that will change his life forever.

Read if
Jan 02, 2014 rated it liked it
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
Apr 29, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, gac-sach
Đọc một cuốn truyện hay đặc biệt là những câu truyện mang hơi hướng của cổ tích của thần kì, từ nhỏ tôi đã luôn ước mình có những nét tương đồng đáng yêu như nhân vật trong truyện. Đôi khi, tôi còn tự tưởng tượng mình sẽ là một người như thế với tâm hồn và cách sống như thế.
Có bao giờ bạn tự hỏi rằng, sau này có con chúng ta sẽ đọc cho chúng nghe và dạy cho chúng biết những gì về cuộc sống này. Tôi thì rất hay thắc mắc và tò mò về điều ấy. Vì thế trước tiên có lẽ nên bắt đầu từ những trang sách
Nov 15, 2012 rated it really liked it
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
Sadie Kaminske
Oct 30, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Mr. Gottshalk
Mar 10, 2016 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Majed Alorene
Sep 18, 2009 rated it really liked it
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
Apr 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: kids-teens
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
Robert Davis
Feb 22, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: newbery-honor, 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.
The children applauded when I finished. ha!

An old hobo adopts a homeless family and sacrifices to help them find a home.
Set in Paris at Christmas.

Read at lunch with Calvin, Lincoln, Naomi, Julia, JD, Joseph, Elijah, & Elena.

A book written in the 20th century.
Sep 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
This is such a sweet story - I cried - I even cried trying to tell my sister about the story. Such a beautifully told story and great illustrations by Garth Williams. This one is gem, an uplifting and life affirming story.
Eileen W
Aug 08, 2016 rated it really liked it
Sweet little story of an old hobo in Paris with a soft heart who helps a homeless family and changes his own life as a result.
Tina Cerami
Apr 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Armand has been homeless for as long as he can remember. For so long, he doesn't even remember his own last name or what he used to look like. His "home" is in Paris by the River Seine under a bridge. Armand walks around with a grocery cart where all of his belonging reside. A special item is a black dress shoe that he once found and fits him perfectly. He is convinced that someday he will come across the matching one. As Armand was going through his regular routine of walking around with his sh ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Bookworms are Boo...: * March Book Topic 2 1 Feb 22, 2017 02:53PM  
Goodreads Librari...: Wrong First Published Date 3 13 May 04, 2015 01:59PM  
  • The Light at Tern Rock
  • The Apple and the Arrow
  • Dolphin Treasure (Dolphin Adventure #3)
  • The Usborne Book of Living Long Ago (Explainers)
  • Shadrach
  • Mary On Horseback: Three Mountain Stories
  • Five True Dog Stories
  • Twenty and Ten
  • Kildee House
  • Capyboppy
  • A Grain of Rice
  • Red Sails to Capri
  • The Courage of Sarah Noble
  • Blue Willow
  • Annie and the Old One
  • Mountain Born
  • The Llama Who Had No Pajama: 100 Favorite Poems
  • Seabird
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.
“Today is today and tomorrow may come late this year.” 3 likes
“Your afraid the sly little things will steal your heart if the find out you have one
- Natalie Savage Carlson " The Family Under The Bridge”
More quotes…