Wednesday, December 19, 2018

"Mr. Popper's Penguins" by Richard and Florence Atwater

I'm afraid I liked this book better as a kid.  It's still cute and fun, but my suspension of disbelief got stretched a little too far for me to totally enjoy it.  Not that it was a huge favorite of mine as a kid either -- I remember reading it and wishing my parents would let us have snow in the house, but that's about all I recall, so I must have only read it once or twice.

I read it now because my 8-yr-old loves penguins.  This is the last book we'll be reading this semester for our homeschool co-op lit course, and I chose it because she would enjoy it.  And she did.  So that's a win, really.  And it only took me a couple of hours to read, so it's not like I was stuck with a book I didn't thoroughly enjoy for very long.

Mr. Popper's Penguins involves a very nice man who wishes he was an explorer instead of a house painter.  Imagine George Bailey from It's a Wonderful Life if he was even poorer.  In fact, James Stewart likely would have made a very effective Mr. Popper if they'd made a movie of this sixty or seventy years ago.

Anyway, Mr. Popper is given a penguin most unexpectedly.  Most of the book involves his family adjusting to life with a penguin.  And then life with many penguins.  They aren't rich, but they never really begrudge those penguins the money they have to pour into keeping them, though Mrs. Popper frets now and then.  Eventually, they find a way for the penguins to earn their keep.  And Mr. Popper's dearest wish comes true -- it's a very, very happy ending.  And I definitely liked that.

If This was a Movie, I Would Rate It:  G.  Squeaky clean.

This is my 11th and, presumably, final book read for the Old School Kidlit Reading Challenge.  Don't think I'll have time for another junior fiction book before the end of the year.


  1. Oh, this was one of my favorites as a kid. I remember my mom reading it aloud to us—and how hard I always laughed at the part where Captain Cook took Mr. Popper for a ride down the stairs.

    1. Elisabeth, I bet this one is fun to read aloud! And yes, it has a lot of quite funny parts :-)

  2. I liked the movie, I don't think I've read this one. I would have loved it as a kid.

    1. Skye, I'd like to see the movie sometime, but haven't yet. It looks very fun in a somewhat different way from the book, which has that sort of old-timey cozy feel to it.


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