About the Book: The Poppers unexpectedly come into possession of a penguin, then get a penguin from the zoo who mates with the first penguin to have 10 baby penguins. Before long, something must be done before they eat the Poppers out of house and home!
A classic of American humor, this story of a gentle housepainter and his high stepping penguins has delighted children for generations.
My Two Cents: This classic is a fun, fast read that has aged remarkably well. It’s unusual to see a middle grade book with a middle-aged man as the main character, but Mr. Popper is silly enough and the penguins are center stage enough that it totally works. And while the conclusion might not be totally ecologically sound, the idea that wild animals should be in the wild and their needs should come before those of their “owners” is a nice additional layer.
Grade Level: 2-4
- Find lesson ideas and vocabulary words on Scholastic’s Mr. Popper’s Penguins page or with this very in-depth curriculum guide
- Learn more about Captain James Cook and other polar explorers
- Learn more about emperor penguins from National Geographic Kids
- Watch this video to learn more about real penguin families, or this video to see a real expedition to Antarctica
- Listen to the music that Mrs. Popper plays for the penguins’ act: Schubert’s Military March, Lehar’s Merry Widow Waltz, and By the Brook
- Track the penguins’ journey across the USA through Seattle, Minneapolis, Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, Philadelphia, Boston, New York
More to Read:
- Another classic about an average family whose life takes a turn toward adventurous: Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming
- Another book about birds and letting them live where they really belong: Hoot by Carl Hiaasen
- Another great book about letting pets into your life, even when it doesn’t go smoothly: Mason Dixon: Pet Disasters by Claudia Mills