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Mr. Popper's Penguins

3.94  ·  Rating Details  ·  44,590 Ratings  ·  1,694 Reviews
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.
Paperback, 139 pages
Published November 2nd 1992 by Little, Brown and Company (first published 1938)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Evan Schwenk
Dec 13, 2008 Evan Schwenk rated it it was amazing
The single greatest book of my childhood. (Nerd alert warning)...This will explain how much I enjoyed this book. When I first read it, I had inherited a copy from one of my older siblings. They had written their name in the front of it, because our mother has a weird obsession with putting our names on everything that was ours (especially books and clothes). When I was sent home with one of the scholastic book buy handouts (which I was obsessed with), I told my mom that we did not own the book. ...more
Ivonne Rovira
Dec 31, 2014 Ivonne Rovira rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was really looking forward to re-reading Mr. Popper’s Penguins; however, as soon as I started reading this delightful book, I realized that I had never read it as a child. Good thing that I was able to make up for that omission now, in late middle age!

House painter Mr. Popper has always longed to be a polar explorer; after a letter to Antarctic explorer Admiral Drake, the admiral ships Mr. Popper a clever Gentoo penguin. The new arrival, dubbed Captain Cook after the English explorer, proceeds
...more
Mariel
Jan 03, 2011 Mariel rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: free loading pets
Recommended to Mariel by: get rich quick schemes
I made all my pets read this to try and make them understand that they need to support ME for a change. It's not a good book for getting the good life, unfortunately. It's cute enough, though. It was cute in a good way, not the "Wild hijinks ensue!" sitcomy problems way. I think birds cause an awful lot of problems. It was good that the book took that problem seriously. I also liked that Mr. Popper was obsessed and got into the spirit of his hobby. I love to know that kind of stuff about people. ...more
Emily
I remember loving this in third grade when the school librarian read it aloud to our class. Decided to try it on the seven year-old, who likes animal stories, and was curious to see if I'd still like it at this late date. Yes, but not as much. This time around, I thought it got off to a slow start, and it struck me that it would be odd today for the main (human) character in a children's book to be an adult, although the rumpled, absent-minded, polar-fanatic house-painter Mr. Popper is hardly a ...more
Robin
Dec 23, 2014 Robin rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens
Obviously, I am taking this too seriously, but I found the financial ineptitude of Mr. Popper most distressing.
Shala Howell
Oct 27, 2011 Shala Howell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: childrens-books
My Four-Year-Old is just beginning to be interested in having chapter books read to her. But as she gets stressed out by conflict of any sort, it's kind of tough finding good candidates for her. This is a winner.

For those of you who haven't read the book, the basic premise is that a house painter who spends his off-hours reading about (and writing to) explorers in the South Pole receives a penguin in the mail from one of those explorers. Since his work is over for the winter, he becomes very in
...more
Kressel Housman
My son the nature-lover, who is not as avid a reader as his brothers, is a die-hard fan of this book. His enthusiasm began in school when his teacher read the book to his class, and before she could finish, he persuaded me to bring it home to read at bedtime. It's the charming and often funny story of an ordinary house painter who dreams of Antarctica. When he receives a penguin as a surprise gift, the adventures begin! The book was written in the 30's, but it really transcends time. A fun follo ...more
Mari Anne
Aug 30, 2009 Mari Anne rated it it was ok
Shelves: mg-ya
There has apparently been a resurgance in interest in this 1938 childrens' book since I have been seeing it everywhere I go. Since I never read it growing up I thought I would give a read.

The story while cute and age appropriate for 4-8 y/o seemed inadequate in some way... even for a kid's book. The ending totally turned me off of the book altogether (the father leaves for the Arctic for a year or two with barely a good-bye.) Maybe that was the whole problem I had with the book. The father was
...more
Kim
Nov 12, 2007 Kim rated it it was ok
Shelves: kidlit
I couldn't keep reading because I kept thinking that the penguins could never survive in such a hot climate and Discovery Channel realism was intruding on the lighthearted nature of the story.
The Library Lady
Mr Popper is a mild mannered house painter who loves to listen to radio programs about penguins. So when an Admiral sends him a REAL penguin, he is delighted to have it for a pet. Only "Captain Cook" gets lonely, and needs a mate, so the Admiral sends "Greta". Soon there are 12 penguins living in the Poppers basement. And times are tough and the Poppers don't have much money to feed those penguins. What to do?

This is a warm, funny, old fashioned family story that makes a wonderful read aloud. Su
...more
Tricia Douglas
Finally got the chance to read Mr. Popper's Penguins! I enjoyed the story and found the characters humorous and unique for this time period. I even learned a couple of things. When the newspaper published the photo of Popper it was printed "in rotogravure." I had to look this up and found that this kind of printing method uses a cylindrical plate instead of a flat plate. It was relatively new printing method since the early 1900s. Then an idiom puzzled me. Mrs. Popper didn't want to leave to go ...more
Quân Khuê
Hẳn nhiều bạn nhỏ không mấy xa lạ với việc nuôi một con chó, con mèo, con chuột bạch hay thậm chí một con vẹt. Nhưng còn nuôi một con chim cánh cụt thì sao? Ai cũng biết, chim cánh cụt chỉ sống ở Nam Cực, một vùng đất quanh năm băng giá. Vậy nên, chuyện gì sẽ xảy ra nếu trong nhà bạn có không chỉ một con chim cánh cụt mà thậm chí cả một bầy cánh cụt? Bạn có biết làm thế nào để giữ lạnh cho chúng, cho chúng ăn những thức ăn gì, và nếu dẫn chúng đi dạo, thì bạn có cần phải buộc cổ chúng như khi dắ ...more
Gina
Nov 24, 2015 Gina rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Some children's books are made enjoyable for adults, as well. This isn't one of them. The hijinks are rare, and when they do ensue, they are not followed to a humorous conclusion. Rather, this book almost seems to try to take this concept of someone suddenly gifted with a penguin realistically. It isn't entirely without merit, though. It can be entertaining in bits, and it's hard not to be happy for Mr. Popper at the end.
Nicola Mansfield
Mr. Popper, an avid reader of literature concerning the Poles, receives a gift of a penguin from Admiral Cook. What ensues is the story of how he and his family cope with a penguin, and then many more penguins. This is the fourth time, I think, that I have read this so it has lost some of its charm for me. The 7yo enjoyed it well enough. The penguin antics are funny and this is a story that appeals to a child's imagination. Robert Lawson's illustrations are fabulous, as always. A cute, enjoyable ...more
Amygk
Jul 09, 2015 Amygk rated it really liked it
Shelves: kid-lit
Our first family read aloud chapter book! I wasn't sure how the kids would react, but they were interested and excited to read a chapter each night. The penguin antics were highly entertaining. We also were able to talk about several words / items that are not in common usage today.
Meghan
Nov 06, 2014 Meghan rated it did not like it
Mr Popper is a DIRTBAG, and this book is ridiculous. I am sure it's because I'm too old to come to the book for the first time - my 4yo loved it until the end - but I couldn't get past the dumb dumbness of the whole situation.
Karol
Mar 07, 2015 Karol rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Read this for discussion with the Newberry Book group in the Goodreads group Children's Books. Enjoyed the fancifulness of the story with its gentle humor and huge sense of adventure.
Amelyn Randall
Jul 11, 2015 Amelyn Randall rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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 delin
...more
Anuva B
Jan 02, 2015 Anuva B rated it really liked it
Mr. Popper’s Penguins by Richard Atwater and Florence Atwater is about curiosity and reveals that one can be interested in things outside of their daily life. Mr. Popper, in fact, is a house painter and decorator, yet he has a passion for the South Pole. When Mr. Popper is sent a penguin from the South Pole, he finds himself having a most unusual companion. I found this relationship astonishing. Another strength of this book is that Mr. Popper’s adventures with his penguins are entertaining to w ...more
Amy Ingle
Aug 09, 2015 Amy Ingle rated it it was amazing
A perfect fanciful, fun, comical read! After having just read this for the first time, I've been wondering why I've never read it earlier in life! It's a true classic, one (as I can testify) that children and adults both can enjoy! I can't wait to read this again, but the next time it will be aloud to my two young boys.
Tim
Dec 17, 2013 Tim rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, kids
Yawn. . .One of the rare Children's books where the movie is VASTLY superior to the book for entertainment value. Neither the penguins nor the Poppers have any significant personality. Made Stuart Little seem fast-paced. 5yo-Daughter liked it, thus the "OK" rating. Otherwise it would be less.
Benji Martin
Aug 25, 2014 Benji Martin rated it really liked it
I decided a while back that I was going to read all of the Newberys, and that I would also choose one honor book to read each decade. For the 30's I chose Mr. Popper's Penguins. It's a well-known book, that I hadn't read, and it's not very long. It was a very entertaining read, and I enjoyed it very much.

One thing blew my mind, though. NO ONE, in the novel except for Mr. Popper and a few others knew what a penguin was. Every time Mr. Popper took the penguins out in public, everyone was like, "Wh
...more
Amy
I can see why this book has become a classic - it's utterly charming and witty. I know I read it when I was a kid, but the only part I remembered was how Mr. Popper made his basement into an ice rink. I enjoyed it just as much - if not more - as an adult. Captain Cook has so much personality, and I loved that Mr. Popper devoted so much time and energy to making sure the penguins were happy. The animal activist side of me cringed a little bit at the idea of wild animals being taken out of their n ...more
Pricky
Jan 27, 2011 Pricky rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-in-2010
I read this as a child and really enjoyed it so I read it to my daughter. She really loved it and maybe I have to just remind myself that this is a book for the "younger folk."

As an adult, when I read this, I just thought it was just Silly...silly, as in...this story doesn't make any sense at all and is just full of nonsense. Don't get me wrong, I love children's stories that have bits of fantasy to them: Ralph S. Mouse, Indian in the Cupboard, etc...It's just that, I found this to borderline th
...more
Barb Middleton
I am a doofus. I don't know what happens to my brain, but it just checks out of reality. Climbs a mountain; hides in the clouds. Take for instance this morning. I'm at church. I have to go to the bathroom really bad so I run out, use the stall, only to emerge and see men at the sink. Ahhh! What a doofus! I went in the men's bathroom. And I confess, this isn't the first time this has happened.

Mr. Popper is an absentminded doofus too. When his penguins yank him down three flights of stairs, I'm th
...more
Cruth
Authors: Richard and Florence Atwater
Illustrator: Robert Lawson
First Published: 1938
Includes: Stills from the 2011 movie starring Jim Carey.
Awards: Newberry Honor, 1939, Young Reader's Choice Award, 1940.

"Richard Atwater and his wife, Florence Atwater, never intended to collaborate on a book. 'Mr Popper's Penguins' was begun by Mr. Atwater, a newspaper columnist and a onetime classics instructor at the University of Chicago. But when a serious illness forced him to stop writing, Mrs. atwater com
...more
Brian Hodges
Aug 11, 2009 Brian Hodges rated it liked it
Not my favorite chapter book so far. I think it kind of shows its age as far as other kids books are concerned. It wasn't so much a story as a series of mildly ridiculous events spurred on the arrival of a live penguin, sent to the titular Mr. Popper from Admiral Drake at the South Pole. Before you know it there are a dozen or so penguins and they're taking their zany act on the road until Admiral Drake returns to take the penguins off the the North Pole in order to start a breed of penguins in ...more
Rossy
Mar 11, 2015 Rossy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
3.5 stars
The book was cute, silly, and the illustrations were lovely, but the end totally ruined it for me.
<*spoiler> So, Mr. Popper all of a sudden decides to leave his family to go to the North Pole with the penguins. The penguins are more important than his family (?) His wife is happy because he won't be home for a couple of years and won't be making a fuss around the house, his kids just say goodbye... God, they love him sooo much! *sigh* <*/spoiler>
Scott
May 26, 2010 Scott rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brenda
Jul 28, 2011 Brenda rated it really liked it
Mr. Popper is a poor house painter who dreams of far away places and an avid reader about all things relating to the Arctic and Antarctic. Mr. Popper goes so far as to send a letter to his favorite explorer and in return has a real penguin sent to him. Unbeknownst to him is the task of carrying for and attending to his new pets needs. I really enjoyed the old fashioned family feel of the story. I can see where younger children would find humor in the dilemma's that the Popper's are faced with. E ...more
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Kids Book Club: Mr. Poppers Penguins (Readers Review) 1 3 Jan 02, 2015 05:38PM  
hillaroius 4 36 May 24, 2013 05:30AM  
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Richard Tupper Atwater (1892-1948) was a Chicago journalist. He wrote for a number of newspapers including the Chicago Evening Post, the Chicago Daily News, the Chicago Tribune, and the Herald-Examiner. He contributed to the literary and arts magazine The Chicagoan. He also taught Greek at the University of Chicago. In 1932, after watching a documentary about Richard E. Byrd's Antarctic expedition ...more
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“This parcel of penguins really performs!” 0 likes
“He had a nice little house of his own, a wife whom he loved dearly, and two children, named Janie and Bill.” 0 likes
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