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The Family Under the Bridge Paperback – February 15, 1989


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"Castle Hangnail" by Ursula Vernon
From the creator of "Dragonbreath" comes a tale of witches, minions, and one fantastic castle, just right for fans of Roald Dahl and Tom Angleberger. See more

Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 2 - 6
  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: HarperCollins; Reissue edition (February 15, 1989)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0064402509
  • ISBN-13: 978-0064402507
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.3 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (67 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #17,740 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

The story of a Parisian tramp, Armand, who finds a ready-made family to live with him under the bridge, was a Newbery Honor book when it was first published more than 30 years ago. Ages 7-11.
Copyright 1989 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

"A thoroughly delightful story of humor and sentiment Garth Williams' illustrations are perfect." -- --School Library Journal

"Told with warmth and humor. A charming and memorable story." -- –- ALA Booklist

Customer Reviews

This is an award winner for a good reason.
amby
You do your job not because you like it (even though that might be the case), but because you must for your family's sake.
J. Williams
Perfect for children aged 9-12, this is also a great read-aloud book the entire family can enjoy and discuss.
Roz Levine

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

72 of 75 people found the following review helpful By Roz Levine on August 24, 2000
Format: Paperback
Armand is a hobo who lives in Paris, under a bridge. He begs and does odd jobs for money to take care of himself and buy food. One day he finds a mother and her three children in his "home", under the bridge. At first he is gruff and unhappy about sharing the bridge, but in time he begins to like and help care for this poor homeless family. As Christmas nears, the children ask for nothing except a home of their own and Armand comes up with a plan to make their wish come true. Natalie Savage Carlson has written a beautiful, sensitive story full of humor, insight and wisdom. With fast paced, interesting scenes, young readers will be able to identify with the characters of the children in the story and begin to understand the meaning of family and the rewards of giving and accepting help from others. Perfect for children aged 9-12, this is also a great read-aloud book the entire family can enjoy and discuss. The Family Under the Bridge is a thoughtful, heartwarming story and Ms Carlson deserved all the awards this book won.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Meghan on May 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
Natalie Savage Carlson perfectly illustrates what it means to be a family in this heartwarming book. The book is set in Paris in the early 1900's. It explores the world of hoboes and homeless people, a topic which children usually have little experience with. Armand is a homeless man who lives a solitary life under a bridge over the Seine River. He faithfully avoids children, calling them starlings, and saying they will steal your heart if you aren't careful. One day he arrives back home under the bridge, only to find a group of starlings sleeping in his spot. He tries his best to keep them out of his heart, but they work their way in and call Armand their grandpa. The importance of family is the main theme of this book. Armand finds a family and in the end couldn't be happier about it.

Children will love this book. Homelessness isn't something that most children are very familiar with. This unique book will help children understand that even children their age can be homeless. Most homeless people are looked at as being lazy and worthless. This book will show children that some homeless people are just like them, but they are just down in their luck. This is a heartwarming book and deserves attention in the classroom.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful A Kid's Review on November 26, 2000
Format: Paperback
The Family Under the Bridge is about an old crabby hobo named Armand who had nothing but the raged clothes on his back and a little baby buggy with his belongings. He lived in crowded corners and alleys and then in the winter he would live under a bridge. One winter, he was surprised to find three children living under his bridge, and to make matters worse, Armand absolutely hated children. He decided to find another bridge since there were many bridges in Paris, but the children begged him to stay. He softened his heart and decided to stay with the three children and their mother. Armand took the children along with him while he traveled around the streets. It was not long before Armand realized he had gotten himself a family- one he loved with all his heart. They stayed together and Armand soon found a job and got a house for the five of them to live in.
I enjoyed The Family Under the Bridge but it wasn't one of my all-time favorites. It was fairly entertaining. Many parts of the book were exciting and I wanted to keep reading to find out what happened next, but there were also some slow parts. Overall I thought it was a pretty good book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By J. Williams on August 23, 2007
Format: Paperback
I picked this book up at the library thinking that it might help me in my own writing process and found it to be a good story with a wholesome underlying message.

Armand is a friendly hobo in Paris who is entering the holiday season. At these coldest of times, he makes his way to his usual dwelling under a bridge. This year he finds three young children and their mangy dog occupying his normal spot.

What Armand comes to find out is that these children and their mother are homeless because they can't afford rent. Armand is firm about moving on because he doesn't want the "starlings" to steal his heart. Yet, the children eventually soften his heart enough that he feels compelled to stay and help.

This story helped me realize why we actually go to work. Most people would probably not go to work if they didn't have bills or a family that needed their care. Honestly, it would be very intriguing to pack a small bag and travel around the country. Oh, you might have to humble yourself and ask for a few things on the way, but it sounds fun. I probably wouldn't mind sleeping outside on occasion. You figure, everyone needs a breath of fresh air and the outdoor sounds could become peaceful. Yet, I suppose there would come a time that you would have to move on.

Armand put it best about begging when he said, "It takes away a man's self-respect." There comes a time in a man's life where he has to decide whether he's a bum or whether he is willing to work. We all know work is not fun. That's why it's called work. You do your job not because you like it (even though that might be the case), but because you must for your family's sake. It is for the love of your family that you move on and face a job full of hardship.

I pray that more people change their ways like Armand and decide to love and care for other people besides themselves.
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