My daughter recently brought this book home, and after reading only one page, I went and bought my own copy! I had to have this for my classroom!
I teach children with mild to moderate specific learning disabilities who need to regularly experience success in reading if they are ever going to become lifelong readers. What better way to foster desired literacy behaviors than using this delightful tale of an absentminded housepainter, his tidy, yet serious wife, their two children, and 12 performing penguins!
After reading this book, I thought that it would be ideal to use as the focus of a thematic unit on penguins. Believe it or not, there are many themes in the book that lend themselves to serious classroom discussion. For example, Mr. Popper daydreams of far-away places. There is the theme of daydreaming, why people daydream, as well as the theme of travel. Students could be asked to journal about their daydreams, as well as their hopes and dreams of visiting faraway places, which leads into a study of the geography and culture of other people.
In my 6th grade language arts class, I plan on focusing on the 17 different types of penguins there are, where they are found, some of their habits, as well as studying about polar exploration. Thanks to this timeless tale, I have a wealth information to use for exploration with my own class.
Mr. Popper's Penguins is a wonderful example of how a well written trade book can be used across the curriculum, to foster lifelong literacy habits, and broaden a child's horizon.