Richard Atwater and Florence Atwater - Mr. Popper's Penguins

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Mr. Popper---A most unusual fellow

Oct 16, 2000
Review by  
Rated a Very Helpful Review

Pros:Entertaining to the younger audience

Cons:Some family values out of sorts

Have you ever had an unusual pet live in your home? Can you imagine keeping a penguin and then making it the most important warm-body in the house? Well, that's what this book is all about.

It's quite a humorous story for 2nd-4th graders. I just finished reading it aloud to my fourth grade class. It's a pretty easy reader and it can be read in a week or so.

The author makes the chapters short and uses fairly appropriate age level vocabulary. The plot is simple and doesn't require much explanation about what is going on. Actually, some bits of it seem too immature for the audience.

The story begins with Mr. Popper, who is a painter in his town of Stillwater. His life seems that of a family that lives in a little house with a white picket fence. Just happy to be alive. Nothing exciting. In the winter, after his season of painting is over, he relaxes and spends all of his time learning about the Arctic and Antarctic. Mr. Popper writes a letter to Admiral Drake, who is an explorer at the South Pole, and inquires about penguins. Not too far into his "winter vacation" Mr. Popper receives a penguin in the mail from Admiral Drake. They name the penguin Captain Cook.

The book goes on to the tell of the adventures that the Popper family has with the penguin. They adopt another (to keep Captain Cook company) and end up having a whole litter of them. They become famous and start traveling the US to do shows in the large cities. The Poppers earn loads of money doing this. When Spring arrives and the weather starts warming again, Mr. Popper starts to worry for the penguins health. It is then that Admiral Drake appears and asks Mr. Popper to allow the penguins to go the North Pole so that they can start to breed them there. And at the same time, he is offered a huge amount to put them into films in Hollywood. Mr. Popper thinks of the penguins wellbeing and decides to send them on to the North Pole. Little does he know that Admiral Drake wants him to go along to take care of them. So in the end, Mr. Popper tells his family he will see them in a few years when his duty is done!

The book is really cute, but I think it has some odd turns in it. For example, when the Popper family leaves all of their windows open in the winter and spray their living room floor with water so that ice will form to make the penguins feel at home. And at the end, when all of a sudden Mr. Popper is invited to live at the North Pole with the penguins. It's just, "Alright, see you all in a few years." No second thoughts about leaving his family! Maybe I'm being too critical. All in all, it was an entertaining book. Let's just say I'm glad it wasn't any longer than it was.


Recommend this product? Yes

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