Armand, an old hobo, loves his solitary and carefree life under a bridge in Paris. Everything he owns can be pushed around in an old baby buggy. All the clothing he owns is on his back. He has no family, and better yet, no children, whom he says, are like starlings: the world is better off without them.
One day, however, Armand's simple life becomes complicated when he discovers a family under his bridge, complete with a working mother and, ugh, three children. Soon after, Armand decides to find another bridge among the many bridges in Paris, but the children want him to stay. As Christmas nears, Armand becomes not only a friend to children, but someone who is determined to make their holiday wishes come true. Tired of their life under the bridge, the children want only a real home, and Armand, whose heart has been softened by his love for his new "family," comes up with a plan.
Armand and the children's adventures around Paris, complete with gypsies and a Santa Claus, are distinctively illustrated by Garth Williams, whose work has appeared in many children's classics, including the original Little Housebooks and Charlotte's Web.