Title: Mr. Popper’s Penguins
Author: Richard Atwater
Illustrator: Florence Atwater
Publication Year: 1938
Age Group: Early Elementary, Mid Elementary
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Comments: This is one of the few very highly recommended books that my kids were just not that excited about. I read it to my 3 and 5 year olds and maybe they were just too young. There were definitely parts of this book that they liked, but at least half of it they were either confused or bored by. A lot of the words and plot are little bit old-fashioned and my kids didn’t understand what was going on without a lot of explanation.
I’ve heard that the audiobook is very good, so maybe I just wasn’t that great at reading it aloud. Or maybe my kids would have liked it more if they were older or more mature. It’s definitely a cute little story that isn’t very complicated. The chapters were all of reasonable length, taking less than 10 minutes to read. However, this book literally took us 2 months to get through and they almost never asked to have it read to them. Looking back, I really should have just set it aside until they were older. I think I might check the audiobook out from the library for a road trip in a couple years.
Also, I have to say that I thought the ending was really weird. Spoiler alert: At the end of the book, the penguins get taken to the north pole and at the last minute, the main character, Mr. Popper, decides to go along on the expedition and leave his family behind. He basically says, “You don’t mind if I’m gone for a couple years, right?” and his family responds with the equivalent of, “Not really.” I guess given the absurdity of everything else that happens in the plot I shouldn’t have been so surprised, but like my kids, in some ways this book went over my head.
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