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Mr. Popper's Penguins

(Mr. Popper's Penguins #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  64,421 ratings  ·  2,843 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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Popular Answered Questions
Kisa For the most part yes. However, the book is quite old so it has some old fashioned words that are not commonly used anymore.
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Riley Sauder I do too! YAY!
I do too! YAY!

Community Reviews

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Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  64,421 ratings  ·  2,843 reviews

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Sep 08, 2014 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.
Evan Schwenk
Dec 13, 2008 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

Why have I shelved this as Hallowe'en read?

Page 7, paragraph 4, second sentence: "I have papered all the rooms in the new apartment building on Elm Street"

So, I had no problem cracking this open except, except, except...

the copy I have been sent, contrary to what I ordered, is this movie tie-in version and there are photos from the film in the middle.

The story itself is lovely fun with only a couple of domestic violence against penguin scenes; perfect for reading outloud.
Ivonne Rovira
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
Now I never did read Richard and Florence Atwater's Newbery Honour winning novel Mr. Popper's Penguins as a child, and while I have in fact mildly enjoyed much if not most of it as a sweet and humour-full animal/people interaction tale, and can also understand why and how it is considered a classic and much beloved by many, as an older adult reading Mr. Popper's Penguins for the first time, the ending, with the penguins being sent to the Arctic just absolutely and totally rubs me the wrong way, ...more
Dec 03, 2007 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
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I have been aware of this book's existence since I was a kid, but somehow I never got around to reading it. The past few months the kids and I have been on an "animal stories" kick for our bedtime reading, but of course we like funny animal books, not dead dogs and horses, so I turned to this.

What a little gem! I honestly didn't know what this book was about, except for what you can glean from the title (there's a guy, named Mr. Popper, he has penguins). The story of how he gets the penguins, a
Shala Howell
Oct 27, 2011 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
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade, 2020
Fun read-aloud with the kids I nanny.
Mari Anne
Aug 30, 2009 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
Jan 17, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-aloud
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
Nov 06, 2014 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.
Christina DeVane
Read this to the boys, and it’s such a fun, silly story that brings back memories of my childhood! I think I love this book so much because I loved it as a kid. The ending is a little weird in that he leaves his family to go live with the penguins for awhile. 😂
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
Paul J.
This was a fun book to read, which I valued for it's good old-fashioned lifestyle and language, and the imaginative and hilarious plot. It's one of those older books that are popular with kids for a reason, and adds a little fun to life.
Oct 30, 2007 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.
May 07, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: childrens
This inspired a much better film. What I liked the most was how well the beginning pages illustrates how the Law of Attraction works! Mr. Poppers is immersed in his desire (penguins and Antarctica). So he reads about it, thinks about it, dreams about it, watches films about it, listens to a radio show about it....until he manifests a penguin on his porch! This is the correct formula that Law of Attraction teaches and how perfect for children...He holds his desire from a place of happiness (very ...more
Nostalgia Reader
Funnily, I have a feeling the exact things I was able to overlook now, would have been the things I would have been annoyed with had I read this as a kid. And besides, back then I would have probably thought someone with a polar exploration obsession was crazy.

But this book checks all the boxes for me now, right down to Mr. Popper's obsession. I absolutely geeked out when I saw that he named the penguins for explorers... and the main one Captain Cook, no less!!

Despite the Popper's ignorance of f
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
Gideon Yutzy
Jun 17, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Bedtime read-aloud for my 5 and 7 year old daughters in May and June of 2020. The 5 year old got more out of it than I expected. Great story and well worth reading. The author does a great job of portraying Mrs. Popper, I thought--she is predictably dubious of the penguin idea at first but completely won over later on. However, I thought the storyline was weak in building on itself and making skillful connections. It almost functions more as a series of discrete vignettes. Good book overall (ork ...more
Erik Graff
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: early grade schoolers
Recommended to Erik by: Ms. Schwartz
Shelves: literature
A review written in the 2nd grade and found in the basement:
This is a very good book of a man that got one penguin in a box. After that he got one more. Then the new penguin got babies. There were ten penguins after the babies came.
In the end of the book he goes to the south pole. If you want to know all the funny (sic) that happens to the Popper family, read the book. You can get it [in] our library.
Serethiel ☽ ✨
I read this when I was eight or nine, and I remember really enjoying it. :)
I don't usually read children's books and I have no intention to begin a program of reading such. But this book was the "group read" for one of the Goodreads communities that I have joined, it was readily available on online and promised to be no more than a 90 minute read. So I thought, "Why not?"

Mr.Popper, a Midwesterner, is a housepainter by day and an armchair explorer by night. His particular interest is in the North and South Poles. He knows all there is to know about these geographical a
Apr 09, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: ya-mg, newbery
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 27, 2011 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
This is one of the few books I had in my possession as a child.

Mr Popper is a house decorator (painter) and during the winter the season is over (no work). He and Mrs Popper have two children, a boy and a girl. Mrs Popper tries her best to make ends meet during his down time.
This is the time that Mr Popper is reading about the South Pole. He writes a letter to the Drake Exploration. He is mentioned on the radio broadcast and Admiral Drake sends him a thank you by the way of a Penguin.
All kind
Feb 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
Finished this with my 8yr old last night. She seemed to really enjoy the book as we read it.

We read this book as a part of her school's newest book reading adventure, One School, One Book and each day we had to read two chapters and then the next day, the kids would answer trivia questions to try and win prizes. It was a great way to get them to do more than just read the words, they had to comprehend what they were reading and hearing us read to them.

As for the book, you can definitely tell thi
Feb 26, 2014 rated it did not like it
Shelves: read-a-louds

1. Didn't like the dad leaving at the end with everyone happy or fine to see him go. The mom was just glad she didn't have to clean up after him. Heartless.

2. The references to money. Poor example of money management and debt acceptance. Absolutely not principles I am teaching my children.

3. Not a lot to like in mr popper. He was untidy. Lounged around all day in the winter. Wasn't worried about providing and deemed it his wife's problem to handle the money to feed the family.

Just thr
Apr 13, 2020 rated it liked it
As long as you don’t mind going for a too-good-to-be-true journey, enjoy! My kids all did!
Allison Gaspar
Apr 27, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The boys were huge fans of the penguin antics!
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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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