Mr. Popper's Penguins

Mr. Popper's Penguins
Author: Richard Atwater and Florence Atwater
Lexile Framework:  910L
Guided Reading Level:  Q
Newbery Winner 1939

My Recommended Age: Everyone will enjoy this book!

When Mr. Popper writes to the famous Arctic explorer Admiral Drake, he has no idea that the Admiral will respond to his letter by sending him a live penguin.  The penguin, affectionately known as Captain Cook, start the Popper family on an unexpected adventure filled with challenges and more canned shrimp then the Poppers can find.  A second penguin is added to the family when the Poppers realize that the highly social birds need company and soon enough Popper's penguins number nine in all. 

Having read Mr. Popper's penguins in elementary school, I was excited to rediscover it with my daughters, so I chose it for our Mother-Daughter book club.  I wanted something that would appeal to multiple ages, could serve as an independent reading book as well as a read a-loud, and was entertaining.  I was lucky on all three accounts and even received a fourth bonus in that the book was being made into a movie.  In fact, it wasn't until I was driving down the freeway and saw Jim Carrey and four penguins on a bill board smiling at me that I realized a movie was in the works. 

The book was enjoyed by everyone in our book club and our discussion was very successful.  We started off the evening by making penguin masks out of construction paper and paper plates for each of the girls.  We then discussed the book with the girls and ate Swedish fish, snow donuts (powdered donuts), and penguin faces made from mini M&M's, candy corns, and Oreos.  Then we divided the girls into two groups and sent them outside to make up a penguin act that they could perform for us.  The girls LOVED it!  They wore their masks and sang and danced.  It was really cute! 

As for the movie, all of the charm and love that we felt while reading the book was lost in translation, simply because the movie was nothing like the book.  My kids still enjoyed it, but the only similarities were the title and the fact that the movie had a starring character named Mr. Popper who happened upon some penguins.  

Happy Reading

1 comment:

  1. My youngest loves penguins and thoroughly enjoyed this classic. We haven't seen the movie yet, but will be glad for it for what it is.


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