[Read] ➯ The Family Under the Bridge Author Natalie Savage Carlson – Reliableradio.co.uk

The Family Under the Bridge 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 To Realize That He Had Gotten Himself Ready Made Family One That He Loved With All His Heart, And One For Whom He Would Have To Find A Better Home Than The Bridge.Armand And The Children S Adventures Around Paris Complete With Gypsies And A Santa Claus Make A Story Which Children Will Treasure. I think I read this a while back but it wasn t memorable I think. 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 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 conducted by an old hobo who would rather live in Paris than anywhere else At the beginning of the story, Armand walks past Notre Dame Cathedral He descends to the cobbled quay along the Seine river and returns to his favored spot under the bridge It is there that he meets the three homeless children who will steal his heart Together they walk among the crowd of holiday shoppers on the Rue de Rivoli, visit Father Christmas at the Louvre, and attend a Christmas Eve party under Tournelle Bridge When Armand takes the children to see the gypsies, they first stop by Les Halles, the fresh food market, and then walk past St Eustache Church, down Rue de Petits Carreaux with itspatterns of cobbles so tiny that they looked like mosaic58 , and on to the gypsy encampment at the Court of Miracles Other places of mention are the Place Maubert, Rue de Montorgueil, Rue de l Opera, the Theatre Francais, and the Jardin des Plantes, the Parisian botanical garden Carlson lovingly presents the sights of Paris through the eyes of the Calcet children One especially pretty scene occurs at the Christmas Eve party under Tournelle BridgeBut Suzy s eyes were looking across the river to the little Isle of the Cit , where Notre Dame was illuminated like a saint s dream Its flying buttresses and tall, fragile arrow were frosted with light83 Despite the beauty of this scene, one never forgets that the Calcet children are poor and homelessParis had turned white overnight It was a beautiful sight for those who could stand in a warm room and look through a window51 Though their widowed mother works long hours at the laundry, she doesn t earn enough for rent Their future is uncertain Suzy, Paul, and Evelyne are cold and hungry, their clothes are ill fitting and mismatched, and they cannot even go to school The hobo life that so comfortably suits Armand is a calamity for the Calcets, but he shares his food, his philosophy, and his friendship Armand has cultivated an appreciation for the simple pleasures and virtues of the poor For lunch, he enjoys the aroma of food coming from a restaurant He picks through the refuse at a flower stall to find himself a spring of holly for his buttonhole And he carries around one shoe because it fits well and, who knows, its mate might show up someday But most importantly, he values the kindness and generosity exhibited by the poor toward each other This is made explicit when he lectures Madame Calcet on the gypsies Madame Calcet think gypsies are just thieves, but Armand defends themWhat is wrong with gypsies asked Armand Why do you think you are better Are you kinder Are yougenerous71 Madame Calcet is an honest and hard working woman, but she needs help and it is not easy for her to accept the generosity of others She is upset when she learns that her children accepted food from Armand and she tries to distance herself from the other homeless people at the Christmas Eve party when she offers to help serve the dinner But Armand reminds her of her own words about family sticking togetherWell, we re all God s big poor family, so we need to stick together and help each other72.Setting her pride aside, Madame Calcet accepts the gypsies generosity Armand has taught her a valuable lesson, but he has a lesson to learn as well Armand does not like children or so he says He calls them starlings and fears they will steal his heart But Armand s real fear is revealed in chapter oneThese starlings would steal your heart if you didn t keep it well hidden And he wanted nothing to do with children They meant homes and responsibility and regular work all the things he had turned his back on so long ago7 8 Armand doesn t like to work Twice he turns down job offers This sets him apart from the other poor people in the story, like the hobo Camille who works as a department store Father Christmas, or Louis who works as a pusher at Les Halles, or the gypsies who earn their living mending pots and pans Armand is good and kind and generous, but he idolizes the carefree hobo life He speaks fondly of the good old days of Paris when a bell was rung in the marketplace as a signal to the hobos that they could pick up their scraps 15 and he extols the Court of Miracles, the beggars slum, as a place of feasting and merry making 59 But something is missing from Armand s life, though it isn t easy for him to admit In one poignant scene, he is attending Midnight Mass on the Tournelle quay with the Calcet family and he tries to prayIn his misery he raised his eyes high over the altar up to the stars in the Paris sky Please, God, he said, moving his lips soundlessly, I ve forgotten how to pray All I know now is how to beg So I m begging you to find a roof for this homeless family88 This scene is especially moving because from the very beginning Armand was presented with the cathedral in the backgroundArmand tramped under the black, leafless trees and around the cathedral by the river side without ever giving it a glance5.Then he grinslike one of the roguish gargoyles on the cathedral7.And now he is praying.Before meeting the Calcet children, Armand was content with his small solitary worldThe lights of Paris were floating in the river, but the only light in the tunnel flickered from a tiny fire Armand had made16 Back then he sat under the bridge, a place lit only by his own little fire He didn t see the lights of Paris He didn t see the illuminated cathedral Now he looks up to the stars He looks up and he prays in the only way he knows how And all because three little starlings have stolen his heart.Just as Madame Calcet must learn to have less pride, Armand must learn to haveThis delightful story is enlivened by Carlson s endearing characters and rich description The Calcets are winsome children There s Suzy, the eldest, determined to keep her family together, Paul who boasts of how he d find his family a home if he were bigger, Evelyne, the littlest Calcet, and Jojo the dog who knows how to behave himself at mass Carlson s portraits of hobos and gypsies reveal their kindness and generosity, their readiness to share what they have and help those even less fortunate than themselves No one is perfect, but everyone is good Armand hates work, but he shares his food with the children and Jojo The gypsies are wanderers and thieves, but they shelter the homeless Calcet family and share Christmas with them The gypsies are described as colorful and wonderfully strange Mireli is first seen in the square at Notre Dame offering to tell fortunes She s dressed in a blue scarf, flowered skirt, short fur coat, and tarnished silver sandals Later the Calcet children meet Tinka, a gypsy girl with bangs and golden earrings Tinka teaches Suzy about St Sara and tells her of the gypsy s annual pilgrimage to Provence But as exotic as they are, the gypsies have something important in common with the Calcets They believe in sticking together too The Family Under the Bridge is a heartwarming tale that is as sweet as roasted chestnuts, as innocent as freshly fallen snow, and as charming as little Suzy s Christmas wish Joyeux No l 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. 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 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 Santa Claus to swoop down and rescue the family I dunno I don t have a problem with it Armand, the crotchety homeless man who takes three children and their mother, newly homeless, under his wing, takes the children to see the Father Christmas at a store It s obvious that the man is just hired to play Father Christmas, he is in fact a good friend of Armand s I think any kids old enough to read this book, or follow along as its read to them, don t have trouble with mall Santas being hired to play the part The children in the book ask him for a house, which he explains he cannot bring them, because he can t carry it Also fine But that aside, it s a sweet little story It reminds me of many of the old fashioned books of yore, when you can have your POV character in a children s book be an older man, and when such matters as not enough money, and not wanting to go to an orphanage, were dealt with in simple and matter of fact terms The book has a happy ending The children are never in real peril When they are hungry, they find a scrappy way to get some money and buy food, ditto when they are cold It reminds me, in fact, of a mix of The Boxcar Children and just a smidge of Miracle on 34th Street, though the miracles are definitely manmade here

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