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Mr. Popper's Penguins Hardcover – September 26, 1988
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The Atwaters wrote this unforgettable tale in 1938, but its timeless charm shows no signs of aging. Children are invited to imagine, dream, and believe that anything is possible. Robert Lawson, illustrator of The Story of Ferdinand, offers delightfully humorous pictures--as integral to this classic as the story itself. An ideal read-aloud book for all ages, Mr. Popper's Penguins will have any audience rolling in the aisles. (Ages 9 to 12)
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I decided the book was too long for my seventh graders, and the story perhaps a bit too juvenile. The language level, third and fourth grade, was exactly what I had been looking for. It seems totally appropriate for summer reading.
The book was written in the 1930s and reflects traditional values. A married couple, children who respect their father despite his foibles, and the typical small town characters from taxi drivers to the dowager on the street. The authority figures, Adm. Drake and Mr. Greenbaum, are also stock characters. The book would be written differently today.
The penguins themselves are rather improbable in their sociability, intelligence, and amazing ability to jump. Fiction involves the willing suspense of disbelief. This book asks a bit more than usual. However, as noted, my 7-year-old son had no trouble whatsoever putting aside his disbelief and getting engrossed in the story. He insisted that we read it every night. It took 5 nights to complete.
As a children's story it has stood the test of time.
Last night we read the last chapter. Sigh. I wasn't ready for it to be over. If you read the Kindle copy of the book, be sure to read the end-of-book matter. There are pictures of the Atwater family, and an explanation of how this book came to be. I'm SO glad Mrs. Atwater made some realistic changes to the book before it was published after Mr. Atwater's death. What she did turned it into the award-winning classic that it is, a must-read for all ages.
This book was an assigned read-aloud for our homeschool curriculum, but we set it aside in a big stack of books to be read later, since it was just for enjoyment and not really related to other readings and assignments in the curriculum at the time. I'm so glad we waited, because now it would be remembered forever. It was very different from the Jim Carrey movie (also fabulous), so read this and enjoy a completely different story. Pretty much the only things relating the book and movie were the character names and the plethora of penguins!
Enjoy some time with your family and read aloud!
For those of you who haven't read the book, the basic premise is that a house painter who spends his off-hours reading about (and writing to) explorers in the South Pole receives a penguin in the mail from one of those explorers. Since his work is over for the winter, he becomes very involved in the comfort and care of said penguin (and the eleven other penguins that quickly follow). In the end, he transforms his basement into an ice rink (an idea my daughter wholeheartedly supports, by the way), and spends more than his wife ever thought possible on fish and canned shrimp.
I won't tell you how an out-of-work house painter manages to pay for all that (wouldn't want to spoil the ending), but I will say that the process is highly entertaining for all involved. I found myself looking forward to each night's installment of Mr. Popper nearly as much as The Four-Year-Old.
Although I personally found the ending to be highly improbable, The Four-Year-Old saw nothing at all the matter with it--except for that little bit of unpleasantness with the policemen and firemen--and has spent many a happy evening reenacting the finale in the bathtub.
And now, if you will excuse me, I need to go read Mr. Popper's Penguins to The Four-Year-Old again. I promised her I would as soon as I finished writing the review.
(Excerpted from review posted on my blog: Caterpickles-Scientific & Linguistic Engagement with a 4-Year-Old Mind)
Top international reviews
Short and sweet but there's a reason this classic children's book is still so popular 80 years on. Absolutely charming!
And if you have watched the movie the book is 100% better it is very interesting and very funny one of the best books I have read in my life.
So if your thinking of getting it please do because it is an amazing book.