Blueberries for Sal

by Robert McCloskey

Paperback, 2002


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Call number

E Mc



Puffin Books (1976), 64 pages


Little Sal and Little Bear both lose their mothers while eating blueberries and almost end up with the other's mother.

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LibraryThing member bestwhensimple
This classic book by Robert McCloskey has been on children's shelves since it was written in 1948. It tells the story of Sal, a little girl who goes blueberry picking with her mother and happens upon a bear on her quest for more blueberries.

I love the one color illustrations of this book. It's
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almost as if the illustrations were tinted with blueberries! Sal's upturned nose is especially endearing. I was also impressed by the skill McCloskey shows by using only one color but giving it a lot of texture (such as in the bears' fur).

McCloskey's writing is impressive as well. He uses onomatopoeia (with words such as "kuplink" to make the sound of a blueberry hitting the bottom of a pail) to bring his readers into Sal's world. I also love how he makes a direct comparison between Sal and Little Bear, who are both blueberry-lovers and get separated from their mothers, by going back and forth between each of their stories and using parallel structure. It's amazing! Children will love this book for years to come.
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LibraryThing member gwen.ashworth
McClosky, Robert. Blueberries for Sal, New York: Viking Press, 1948.
Blueberries for Sal won the Caldecott Honor Book in 1949; the book is a picture book and would probably appeal to children Pre-K through second grade. The pictures in the book are in pen and ink. McClosky’s use of blue ink is
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appropriate since the title involves blueberries. Personally, I don’t think the artwork is eye-catching---especially for young modern readers, but the artist does show the expression of surprise in Sal’s mother’s face when she turns around and sees a baby bear following her instead of Sal. Young children may be able to tell the story themselves by looking at the pictures. There is a parallel plot involving Sal and her mother picking blueberries, and a mother bear and her baby eating blueberries. Both families are storing up food for the winter in different ways. Sal gets lost while picking blueberries with her mother on blueberry hill and ends up behind the mother bear while the baby bear is following Sal’s mother. Both mothers’ are frightened, but the young are not phased by the event. The mothers eventually find their young, and all ends well. The story is told from third-person omniscient point of view, and there is very little dialogue. The characters are not well-developed. Although I would hate to see a young child eaten by a bear, I never felt invested in the characters. I suppose the theme could be obey your mother, or it may be to comfort children showing them when they are lost they can find their way back.
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LibraryThing member Charitas
Blueberries for Sal is a story about Little Sal and her mother. They both go blueberry picking in Blueberry Hill. Sal eats every berry she finds while her mother is planning on canning hers for the winter. Along the way they meet a mother bear and her bear cub who are also out eating blueberries
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for the winter.

I really enjoyed this story. It's very cute how they show the people collecting blueberries for winter when at the same time animals were doing the same thing.

Classroom extension, students would make a chart showing likenesses and difference between humans and animals.
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LibraryThing member srssrs
Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey is 1940s classic children's story. The story starts with Sal and her mother heading out to pick blueberries to can for the winter. Today, there are many children who may not know what canning is, so this idea in the story might cause some confusion for
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younger children that don't know anything about canning. Next, the story unfolds and reveals another mother/daughter pair out for blueberries, Mother Bear and Little Bear. Next, a case of mistaken identities occurs as the 'children' get lost and follow the wrong 'adult'. The story is predictable on many levels, but for the right age group and child I still think "Blueberries for Sal," is a wonderful story.
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LibraryThing member pek
This is another book I'd love to read to my son when he was small. The illustrations of Sal in the kitchen with her mother, and blueberry picking on the hill (in New Hampshire and without the bears), that was me growing up. With every year that passes living away from New England, memories get
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sweeter, so books like this one bring me right back there.
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LibraryThing member kidlit9
Sal and her mother collect blueberries to can (and eat), while other mothers and their children do the same.
LibraryThing member blueberrysal
This is one of my favorite books but I don't believe I read it as a child. I read it every year to my children either before or after we go blueberry picking. We read it at other times too.
LibraryThing member mj113469
This book is about a little girl and her mother who went out to a hill to pick blueberries for the winter. The mother would pick the blueberries and drop them in her pail; Sal would pick the blueberries and eat them. Because Sal was eating the blueberries instead of paying attention to where her
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mother was going she became lost but didn’t even notice. On the other side of the hill were a mother bear and baby bear and they were doing the same thing Sal and her mother was doing. The baby bear got lost and didn’t notice because he is playing. Both Sal and baby bear run to catch up with their mothers but end up with the wrong mother. Luckily the mixup is straightened out and each one continues on preparing for winter.

I started out reading this book and became very unengaged in it. It didn't catch my attention and draw me in. I felt like it just repeated it's self. I was not real pleased with this book.

One could use this book if they were going to teach about the way people used to do it when there was not a Wal-Mart just around the corner. They could use it if they were teaching about pay attention.
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LibraryThing member kbuttry
This story is about a young girl who goes with her mother to Blueberry Hill to help her pick blueberries to store for the Winter. She keeps eating the blueberries she picks as she drops them into her bucket. Sal and her mother encounter a mother and baby bear while picking blueberries. Sal and the
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baby bear get mixed up with their mothers during the story, but by the end of the story their mothers find them and all is well.

I found this story to be very cute and a little funny. The pictures were illustrated beautifully and I liked how the words and pictures were printed only with blue ink. Also, I thought that the sound the blueberries made when they hit the bottom of Sal's bucket was very entertaining as well.

In the classroom, I would have the children write their own short stories. They would pick an object, such as a blueberry, and write a story about it. When the students made the final copy of their story, the illustrations and words would be in the color of the object. For instance, a blueberry is blue so their illustrations and words would all be in blue.
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LibraryThing member stharp
This book is a great historical fiction. The book covers a realistic expression of picking berries a long time ago. The book really grabs the reader and makes a fun story for primary ages to read. The characters in this plot are not very well developed, but the book is still very fun to read. You
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don't know much about Sal or her Mother but the story is still a fun read.
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LibraryThing member stuzle
If you grew up in Maine in blueberry country, this book will bring back your summer days so vividly you almost can't stand it! Although we never met up with bears, the scrubby blueberry woods are depicted so well here it's amazing. I always loved the endpapers as a girl, with the cheery detailed
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scene of a kitchen.
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LibraryThing member jlsherman
Wonderful story about a little girl and her mother, and a mother bear and her cub out to pick wild blueberries before winter.
LibraryThing member eecnelsen
This is a great book to help explain what it might be like to go berry picking to freeze or can for later. The book brings childlike humor into the book by having mom and baby animals picking berries as well.
LibraryThing member poolays
I love this book. My kids all loved it, 20-25 years ago. The preschoolers I know now love it. Must be good. Its a comforting story of a child and mother, and a baby bear and mother getting mixed up with each other while picking blueberries. the adults are way more worried than the youngsters, and
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it all turns out fine in the end.
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LibraryThing member MOster
Mother and child pick berries for winter canning. Momma Bear and Baby eat berries for fat for winter hibernation. This story brilliantly tells how humans and animals prepare their families for winter.

The story was a little bit unbelievable because humans and bears would not just walk away from each
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other. However, used in the correct setting a young child could be influenced with a valuable lesson from the story. To me the story was a little old fashioned.

I could use this in the classroom having students write a paragraph of what makes mothers special. Older students could research bears and their hibernation habits.
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LibraryThing member conuly
This is a simple book of a Little Sal, and Little Sal's mother, and Little Bear, and Little Bear's mother, who get mixed up with each other on Blueberry Hill.

It's very realistically written and illustrated, and the exciting part isn't too scary for little ones.

I will note that it's a bit long -
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maybe better for kids with longer attention spans than shorter ones. If they're as young as Little Sal is, it might be better to wait a year before reading :)
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LibraryThing member Charlee526
Chessey little story, but it is still cute. It would probably be more fun for children around third grade.
LibraryThing member ECEBookworms
This old favorite about a little girl and her mother and a little bear and his mother getting mixed up with each other while picking blueberries continues to be loved by young children. It also lends itself well to storytelling, especially with props.
LibraryThing member macfly_17
I enjoyed this story about Little Sal and her mother blueberry picking in Blueberry Hill. Sal eats every berry she can get her hands on while her mom is planning on canning hers for the winter. Then they meet a mother bear and her bear cub who are also out eating blueberries for the winter.
LibraryThing member psjones
This was one of my favorite books when I was young. I loved to eat blueberries so a whole book about picking them was so much fun to read!
LibraryThing member EricaD
lovely book to share with kids 1-3 grades.
LibraryThing member MaeBHollie
Blueberries for Sal

This is the story of a little girl that goes blueberry picking with her mother. She is helping her pick blueberries but she is more concerned with eating them then she is with keeping them so her mother can make things with them. At the same time a mother bear was picking
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blueberries with her cub too stock up for the winter. The cub was doing the same thing as Sal and eating the blueberries faster than he was picking them. The cub and Sal did not follow their mothers. They just wondering off eating there merry way around the mountain. Eventually Sal and the cub end up all mixed up and with the wrong mothers and they set out to get with the right ones again. Sal is a REAL little girl, she is a bit scruffy from play and picking berries and I love that as it seem natural to her. The author uses onomonpia to give the reader a sense of what is happening at the berries fall into the bucket, that is the ones that Sal doesn't eat first.

This was one of my favorite books growing up, and oddly enough, it was also one of my husband's favorite books growing up. The pictures are absolutely wonderful the bears, mother and child so perfectly portrayed. there is a tenderness and love between mother and daughter that seems to be so lacking in our present times and I love how this book captures that tenderness. I miss picking blueberries/cranberries/raspberries in Alaska with my mom. And my husband misses picking berries with his mom. So the story strikes a chord. We take our girls here in Oklahoma to pick blackberries and wild plumbs. The story it the perfect example of a realistic situation. I have several books for children about berry picking and this is one of my favorites.

Some math extension activities (grades K-2) in the classroom include a felt numeral, pail and felt berries on a felt board return to one of the pages where Sal or the Bear drops the blueberries into the pail, asking how many blueberries were dropped into the pail. After a correct response from a child, the teacher will ask another student to come up to the felt board and choose the correct numerals (made from the patterns attachment out of felt) that represents the number of berries that were in the pail. The teacher will then show the felt pail and berries. Have a child pick a numeral and then have the class chorally respond what number it represents. Then have another child come and put that many berries in the pail. Repeat this process several times until the teacher feels that the group has a good understanding of the concepts. Then have each color and cut out their own pail and berries set (use a premade pattern). When they are finished, the teacher will direct them to a numeral on the felt board. Ask the children to tell what numeral this is. Then have the children place that many berries in their own pail. The teacher may choose to continue the learning by adding problems like ‘If you have two berries in your pail and then pick up two more, how many do you have?’ or ‘If Sal and the little bear wanted to share their berries equally and they had six berries, how many would each have?
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LibraryThing member ampitcher
A childhood favorite! I loved reading about this little girl and her mom picking blueberries
LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
Sal and her mother are out picking blueberries, as are little bear and her mother. They lag behind their mothers and hurry to catch up... but catch up to the wrong mother. Luckily the mixup is straightened out and each one continues on preparing for winter.
LibraryThing member ChiaraBeth
One of those classic, brilliantly constructed, SIMPLE stories for children that curl them up ever closer next to you in eager anticipation of where the blueberries will lead its four characters next. I never got tired of hearing "plink, plank, plunk" when I was a child, which for extra effect my
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mom always read to me as "pa-link, pa-lank, pa-lunk." A pure and simple sound that perfectly evokes the quiet landscape of an afternoon spent collecting blueberries.
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Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

64 p.; 8.88 inches


014050169X / 9780140501698


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