Top positive review
Excellent choice as a bedtime story or summer reading
Reviewed in the United States on December 22, 2018
Mr. Popper's Penguins is a perennial favorite summer reading book for the fourth grade or so. I bought the book to see if it was appropriate for teaching English to middle school Ukrainians. I also read it to my 7-year-old son.
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.