Mr. Popper's Penguins by Richard and Florence Atwater
(Summary taken from the back cover of the book) "It is hard enough for Mr. Popper to support himself, Mrs. Popper, Bill, and Janie Popper. The addition of twelve penguins to the family makes it almost impossible to make ends meet. Now Mr. Popper has sixteen mouths to feed! But Mr. Popper has a splendid idea--the talented penguins would be a sensation on stage!"
I love penguins! I'll just put that out there. When I taught first grade I had a HUGE penguin unit. When I go to SeaWorld I have to go spend time with the penguins. I have read and studied them like crazy. I have seen every penguin documentary out there. Crazy? Yep. I know. But it's ok. We'll just keep my little obsession a secret, ok? I think that is why I like this book so much. It's a little nerdy, but it's super fun and there are lots of penguins in it. I, of course, read this book to my students while we studied the penguins. I have also read it to all my children. And they have all enjoyed it as much as I have. It's just crazy and fun. I love Mr. Popper. He's very funny and quirky. The penguins are the star of the show, and I love their different personalities. I think the accommodations Mr. Popper makes for the penguins in the house are creative and well thought out. I do have to say that I relate to Mrs. Popper a lot more than I want to right now. Haha.....she goes crazy with the mess the penguins make in the house. Four kids make a big enough mess in my house, I can't imagine adding twelve penguins to the mix. I also hate to be cold, so having a freezer and an ice rink as a basement wouldn't make me happy either. The performances that the penguins do are imaginative, and the kids love to hear about all the crazy things the penguins do, especially the mischievous things they do. This book is fun for all ages, is clean, and makes a great read-aloud! My daughter's second grade class read it for their book group, and it was a little difficult for her to read, but she could read some of it by herself. My kindergartener loved listening as well. (Shhh.....don't tell my fifth and sixth graders that I know they were listening even though they were pretending they were too cool to listen to this story as well. :)
Rating: G (Clean!)
Recommendation: As a silent read second grade might be ok for really good readers. For sure third grade. As a read-aloud, preschool and up will enjoy it. It's great for everyone!