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Mr. Popper's Penguins Hardcover – September 26, 1988

474 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Mr. Popper, when not painting or papering his neighbors' walls, has a persistent penchant for penguins. A decorator by day, he's an intrepid Antarctic explorer by night--at least in his imagination. Mr. Popper resigns himself to quiet evenings at home with his family and his travel books, until one day a mysterious package arrives. Pretty soon the Poppers have a house full of penguins, an ice rink in the basement, and an ever-increasing bill for raw fish and canned shrimp. Time to take this show on the road!

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)

About the Author

Before his death in 1948, Richard Atwater was a newspaper columnist and a professor of Greek. He is best known for writing Mr. Popper's Penguins with his wife, Florence, who finished the novel when he fell ill. Together, they were honored with the 1939 Newbery Honor Award.

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 and up
  • Grade Level: 3 and up
  • Hardcover: 139 pages
  • Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers; 50 Anv edition (September 26, 1988)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0316058424
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316058421
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 0.6 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (474 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #84,549 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

125 of 131 people found the following review helpful By E. R. Bird HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on May 17, 2004
Format: Paperback
I've lived 26 years on this earth. In those 26 years I've learned a lot about children's books. I've learned which ones are considered the holiest of holies and which are to be condemned and spat upon. So I was completely taken aback when I learned that there was a 1938 children's book that absolutely no one had ever told me to read before. "Mr. Popper's Penguins" was a delight to discover. Suddenly I was privy to reading a charming story of a man and his penguins, and I had never even heard a peep about this tale from anyone. What gives? Why isn't "Mr. Popper's Penguins" as well-known and well-read as "Cheaper by the Dozen" or "Stuart Little"? There is no answer to this question. There is only this wonderful book, well-illustrated and magnificently written for the younger set.

Mr. Popper is a house painter, and mostly a good one. True, he does sometimes fall into fits of fancy, dreaming about the Arctic explorers and the ice floes to the North and South. His wife and children don't necessarily understand his dreams, but that doesn't sway Mr. Popper. One day, out of the blue, he receives word that one of the great explorers he wrote, Admiral Drake, read his letter and is sending him a present. As any child who remembers the title of the book might guess, a penguin comes hopping out of a newly delivered crate the next day. Mr. Popper is charmed by the little guest, and names him Captain Cook. Cook is a curious beasty, and the Poppers do everything from outfitting their refrigerator to taking Captain Cook for walks. When the penguin falls into a deep depression it is only the delivery of a second penguin from the zoo, Gerta, that cheers him up. Soon the penguin pair lay some eggs and the Popper household is privy to ten more lovely jumpy penguins.
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119 of 125 people found the following review helpful By Rocco B. Rubino on October 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
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.
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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Susan Zuckerman on December 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
My Grade 4 students gobble up this book! I include it in several " thematic literature kits": animal stories, award winners, and humourous stories. Reluctant readers are especially attracted to it, as it isn't difficult to read independently. It really grabs their attention and makes them laugh out loud. Even slow readers work hard to make their way through this novel.
Kids especially love all the penguins, their hilarious antics, and the bizarre trouble they get into.
It's also full of very interesting knowledge. We delve a little into history, getting a glimpse of life in the 1930's. We learn some geography, about exploration of the Arctic and Antarctic. And we certainly learn about penguins!
Written in the 1930's, this book has become a classic that hasn't lost any of its appeal for kids today. I've never seen a kid who didn't love it!
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25 of 29 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 18, 2000
Format: Paperback
I read this book and thought is was cute, funny, and a great read! The charecters are: Mr. Popper, a man very interested in the arctic, Mrs. Popper who is his wife, thier children Janie and Bill, the 12 penguins, Mr. Greenbuam who owns a theater, and Admiral Drake who is an arctic explorer. Mr. Popper is sent a penguin by Admiral Drake. When the penguin gets sick the aquarium sends Mr. Popper a girl penguin, and, naturally the 2 have babies.The Poppers cannot affford the penguins, so Mr. Popper decides to let them perform on stage. Mr. Greenbaum lets them use his stage, and the family gets richer and richer. At the end Admiral Drake comes and asks Mr. Popper if he would like to take the performing penguins and himself to the South Pole for 2 years. Mr. Popper says yes. I hope you read this book because it is wonderful.
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20 of 23 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 9, 1999
Format: Hardcover
A house painter who loves the Arctic is in for the surprise of his life. He receives a penguin from the famous Admiral Drake and his life changes forever. The penguin gets lonely and sick so Mr. Popper must get him another to help his buddy. The the fun starts when the other penguin has the little penguins. This book touched my every emotion. It would make you laugh on one page then scare you on the next. It would keep you on the edge of your seat in supense and ease you with laughter. I was intrigued by the way that one event led into the next. If comedy is what you like along with the drama then Mr. Popper's Penguins would make a great choice for your next book.
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