Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Mr. Popper's Penguins” as Want to Read:
Mr. Popper's Penguins
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Mr. Popper's Penguins

3.97  ·  Rating details ·  60,931 ratings  ·  2,643 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)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Mr. Popper's Penguins, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Riley Sauder I do too! YAY!

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.97  · 
Rating details
 ·  60,931 ratings  ·  2,643 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Mr. Popper's Penguins
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. Poppers 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
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
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
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,
Jan 27, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, middle-grade
Fun read-aloud with the kids I nanny.
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
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
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
Christina DeVane
Read this to the boys, and its 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. 😂 ...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.
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 ...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
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.
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
Review written in 2nd grade:
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. :)
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
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
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.

Sep 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Z: "my favorite part was when they had the baby penguins". Q:"my favorite part was when they got in jail". This was a great one for both girls with short chapters and lots of silliness that got both girls giggling.
Susan Morris
May 24, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children-s
I love this book! Some of the scenes still make me chuckle, and Ive read it 3 times, I think. Its a fun choice for parent/child book club tonight. (Library) ...more
Mar 07, 2015 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.
Oct 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing
I do not know how I missed this book as a child. It was such a good story! The ending was a fun surprise.
Leona  Petrovic
Apr 29, 2017 rated it really liked it
I LOVED THIS SO MUCH WHEN I WAS YOUNGER! It's a great book! Makes itself right at home on the shelf of children's classics with books like Charlotte's Web, Little House Books, and so on.
Rachel B
Jun 04, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, fiction, classic
I remember my mom reading this aloud to me and my siblings, and that we all really liked it. I'd forgotten pretty much everything, though, and decided to read it to my nieces (ages 7, 9, 10). They all loved it and gave it 5 stars. I have to, also!

This is a really sweet story about a man who is sent penguins, and all the fun silliness that unfolds with him, his family, and his new pets.

 "Janie and Bill would often bring their little friends home from school with them, and they would all go down
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Stuart Little
  • The Trumpet of the Swan
  • The Mouse and the Motorcycle (Ralph S. Mouse, #1)
  • The Cricket in Times Square
  • Homer Price
  • My Father's Dragon (My Father's Dragon, #1)
  • Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle (Mrs. Piggle Wiggle, #1)
  • Beezus and Ramona (Ramona, #1)
  • The Family Under the Bridge
  • The Hundred Dresses
  • Little Pear
  • Charlotte's Web
  • Henry Huggins (Henry Huggins, #1)
  • The Boxcar Children (The Boxcar Children, #1)
  • Amelia Bedelia  (Amelia Bedelia, #1)
  • Because of Winn-Dixie
  • Ginger Pye (The Pyes, #1)
  • The Chocolate Touch
See similar books…
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 ...more

Related Articles

April is the most hopeful of months, promising warm days and sunshine just around the corner. The weather is a little unpredictable, sure, but tha...
82 likes · 22 comments
“This parcel of penguins really performs!” 3 likes
“Royal” 2 likes
More quotes…