Blueberries for Sal
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"Blueberries for Sal" Characters Analysis

By Robert McCloskey

picture books | 56 pages | Published in 1948


Estimated read time: 7 min read

List of Characters

Sal's motherSupporting Character
Little BearSupporting Character
Little Bear's motherSupporting Character

Role Identification

In the book "Blueberries for Sal" by Robert McCloskey, there are several characters that play important roles in the story. The main protagonist is Sal, a young girl who goes blueberry picking with her mother. Sal's mother, Little Bear, and Little Bear's mother also have supporting roles in the narrative.

Character Descriptions


Sal is a curious and adventurous young girl who is excited to go blueberry picking with her mother. She is depicted as having short hair and wearing a simple dress. Sal is portrayed as a typical child, filled with energy and enthusiasm.

Sal's Mother

Sal's mother is a caring and patient woman who takes her daughter on a blueberry picking adventure. She is depicted as having long hair and wearing a practical outfit for outdoor activities. Sal's mother is a nurturing figure who guides and supports Sal throughout their journey.

Little Bear

Little Bear is a mischievous and playful cub who gets separated from his mother while looking for berries. He is depicted as a small bear with round ears and a curious expression. Little Bear's innocent and adventurous nature adds an element of excitement to the story.

Little Bear's Mother

Little Bear's mother is a protective and loving parent who becomes separated from her cub during the blueberry picking excursion. She is depicted as a larger bear with a gentle expression. Little Bear's mother is determined to find her cub and reunite with him.

Character Traits


  • Curious: Sal's curiosity is evident in her eagerness to explore the blueberry hill and observe the world around her.
  • Energetic: Sal is full of energy and enthusiasm, which fuels her excitement during the blueberry picking adventure.
  • Determined: Sal's determination is showcased when she keeps picking and filling her pail with blueberries despite encountering obstacles.

Sal's Mother

  • Caring: Sal's mother demonstrates her care for her daughter by ensuring her safety and guiding her through the blueberry picking experience.
  • Patient: Sal's mother displays patience when Sal gets distracted or wanders off, calmly redirecting her attention back to the task at hand.
  • Nurturing: Sal's mother nurtures her daughter's sense of wonder and independence by allowing her to explore while keeping a watchful eye.

Little Bear

  • Mischievous: Little Bear's mischievous nature is seen when he playfully imitates Sal's actions and gets separated from his mother due to his curiosity.
  • Playful: Little Bear's playful demeanor adds a sense of joy and lightheartedness to the story, creating moments of laughter and adventure.
  • Innocent: Little Bear's innocence is evident in his interactions with Sal and his eagerness to explore the world around him.

Little Bear's Mother

  • Protective: Little Bear's mother's primary trait is her protective nature. She is determined to find her cub and ensure his safety.
  • Loving: Little Bear's mother's love for her cub is portrayed through her efforts to locate him and keep him out of harm's way.
  • Strong: Little Bear's mother displays strength both physically and emotionally, as she searches for her cub and faces various challenges along the way.

Character Background

The characters in "Blueberries for Sal" are not extensively developed in terms of their background. The focus of the story is on the shared experience of Sal and her mother, as well as the parallel journey of Little Bear and his mother. The characters' backgrounds are not explicitly mentioned, but their actions and interactions provide insight into their roles and relationships.

Sal is portrayed as an ordinary young girl, and her mother is a relatable maternal figure. Little Bear and his mother are depicted as wild animals, emphasizing the contrast between the human and animal worlds. The lack of detailed background information allows readers to focus on the characters' actions and emotions in the present moment.

Character Arcs


Sal's character arc in "Blueberries for Sal" is one of discovery and independence. At the beginning of the story, Sal is excited to join her mother in the blueberry picking adventure. As they explore the hill, Sal becomes increasingly engrossed in gathering blueberries. She experiences a moment of separation from her mother but is quickly reunited, realizing the importance of staying close. Sal's arc culminates in her realization that the pail she has been filling with blueberries is now empty, prompting her to ask her mother for a helping hand. This moment showcases Sal's growth in self-awareness and the recognition of her limitations.

Sal's Mother

Sal's mother does not undergo a significant character arc in the story. She remains a steady and supportive presence throughout the blueberry picking excursion. Her role is primarily that of a guiding figure, ensuring Sal's safety and fostering her curiosity. Sal's mother consistently offers assistance and guidance, reinforcing the bond between mother and child.

Little Bear

Little Bear's character arc focuses on his mischievous nature and the consequences of his actions. He playfully imitates Sal's actions and becomes separated from his mother while looking for berries. Little Bear's journey highlights the importance of staying close to loved ones and the potential dangers of wandering off. His arc concludes when he is joyfully reunited with his mother, reinforcing the significance of their bond.

Little Bear's Mother

Little Bear's mother experiences a parallel journey to Sal's mother. She becomes separated from her cub while searching for berries and demonstrates determination and resilience in finding him. Little Bear's mother's character arc highlights the enduring love and fierce protectiveness of a mother for her child.


Sal and her Mother

The relationship between Sal and her mother is one of love, trust, and growth. Sal looks up to her mother and relies on her guidance throughout the blueberry picking adventure. Her mother provides a safe environment for Sal to explore and learn, fostering her independence. The bond between Sal and her mother is reinforced through their shared experiences and the challenges they overcome together.

Little Bear and his Mother

Little Bear and his mother share a deep bond characterized by love and protection. Little Bear's mischievous nature occasionally leads him astray, but his mother's determination to find him highlights her unwavering commitment to his safety. Their reunion showcases the strength of their relationship and the joy of being together again.

In conclusion, "Blueberries for Sal" by Robert McCloskey presents a cast of characters who contribute to the story's themes of exploration, independence, and the enduring love between parent and child. Sal, her mother, Little Bear, and Little Bear's mother each have distinct roles, traits, and character arcs that add depth and meaning to the narrative. Through their relationships and experiences, readers are invited to reflect on the importance of family bonds and the lessons learned from shared adventures.