Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater and Florence Atwater

Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater and Florence Atwaterfive-stars

Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard Atwater, Florence Atwater
Illustrator: Robert Lawson
Published by Open Road Media Young Readers on Kindle on June 14, 2011 and originally in 1938
Genres: Children's Book, Classic, Humor
Pages: 139

Audiobook Narrator: Nick Sullivan
Audiobook Length: 2 hours and 14 minutes

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More than 60 years have not dated this wonderfully absurd tale--it still makes kids (and parents) laugh out loud. Poor Mr. Popper isn't exactly unhappy; he just wishes he had seen something of the world before meeting Mrs. Popper and settling down. Most of all, he wishes he had seen the Poles, and spends his spare time between house-painting jobs reading all about polar explorations. Admiral Drake, in response to Mr. Popper's fan letter, sends him a penguin; life at 432 Proudfoot Avenue is never the same again. From one penguin living in the icebox, the Popper family grows to include 12 penguins, all of whom must be fed. Thus is born "Popper's Performing Penguins, First Time on Any Stage, Direct from the South Pole." Their adventures while on tour are hilarious, with numerous slapstick moments as the penguins disrupt other acts and invade hotels. Classic chapter-a-night fun. (Ages 5 to 10) --Richard Farr

My Review

A classic for kids of all ages (including 47-year-old ME!)

I read this book out loud to my family, which includes hubby, a teen boy, and a tween girl. We each giggled at least once, including my very serious husband. I knew it had the stamp of approval when we finished chapter 19 of 20 and there was a collective groan when I read the title of the 20th and last chapter, but put the book down for the next night. We read one chapter each evening, or about 15-20 minutes if there were no chapter delineations, as in some other books. That chapter 20 title indicated that the end was coming for Mr. Popper’s Penguins.

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!


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