A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
In the end when facing a moral dilemma, Mr. Popper becomes a true hero
Positive Role Models
Mr. and Mrs. Popper struggle to make enough money, but are true partners and happy parents. Mr. Popper teaches his family about penguins with awe and respect. He also cries when sad.
Violence & Scariness
Captain Cook (a penguin) is spanked when naughty. He also becomes lethargic and ill (with discussion of his poosible death) until Greta Penguin joins him.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this 1939 Newbery honor winner has captivated generations of readers. There's a little Mr. Popper in every reader, particularly those ages 5 to 8, full of questions about the world. In the end when facing a moral dilemma, Mr. Popper becomes a true hero. Vivid imagery, clever word plays, and funny characters that border on the absurd have made this book a popular choice in for kids in classrooms and at home. Audiobook version read by Nick Sullivan.
Is It Any Good?
MR. POPPER'S PENGUINS is one of those classic childhood books that kids always remember. The chapter book's witty dialogue (albeit with dated language), clever characters, and an ethical predicament make this book as enjoyable today as in the 1930s. Many teachers today use it as part of their language arts curriculum. Mr. Poppers Penguins is a good fit for most first- and second-grade readers, and can be read aloud to kindergartners.
Though the book was written in 1938, Mr. Popper was ahead of his time for progressive parenting, letting his kids leave school to help him take the penguin act on the road. He also treats his wife with respect, giving her voice equal status in the household. Kids will see through this funny, quirky man that learning never stops, and sometimes, by asking questions, great things happen. Mirroring the partnership of Mr. and Mrs. Popper, Richard Atwater got sick and was unable to finish the book, so his wife, Florence, picked up where he left off.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.