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Mr. Popper's Penguins

Last updated Thursday, September 24, 2020

Author: Richard and Florence Atwater
Illustrator: Robert Lawson
Date of Publication: 1988
ISBN: 9780316058421
Grade Level: 4th    (GLCs: Click here for grade level guidelines.)
Date(s) Used: Aug. 2011

Synopsis: The unexpected delivery of a large crate containing an Antarctic penguin changes the life and fortunes of Mr. Popper, a house painter obsessed by dreams of the Polar regions.

Note to readers:
•  Hear and see this book read aloud on YouTube by one of our volunteers, including a craft at the end! More of the book can be seen at this YouTube playlist.
•  Read for time purposes
•  Summarize Chapters 1 and 2
--Mr. Popper is a house painter in the town of Stillwater. While he works hard Spring through early Autumn, there is no work for him during the winter. The book begins right at Mr. Popper settles in for the winter. He has a wife he loves, and two children -- a son, Bill, and a daughter, Janie. Mr. Popper has never left Stillwater, but is fascinated with the North and South Poles. He reads all he can about them, watches every movie that comes out about the Arctic and Antarctic, and even writes letters to Admiral Drake, one of the most famous Antarctic explorers.
•  Read beginning of Chapter 3
•  Flip through the rest of the book to show kids all of the illustrations to pique their interest

Discussion topics for before reading:
•  Have you seen the movie "Mr. Popper's Penguins"?
•  Have you seen a penguin before? What do you know about penguins?

•  p.5: "absent-minded"

Discussion topics for during/after reading:
•  Are there any areas of the world you really want to visit?
•  Do polar bears eat penguins?
*The answer is "no". Polar bears live in the North Pole and penguins live in the South Pole.
•  Would you rather live in the North Pole or the South Pole?
•  Do penguins live only in the South Pole?
*No. Different kinds of penguins live as far north as the Galapagos Islands.
•  Have you ever written to a famous person before? (Readers can discuss their experiences)
•  Do you foresee any problems with these penguins?
•  Would you like to have a pet penguin?

Craft ideas:
•  Draw your own pet penguin
•  Name your penguins (see pp.86-87)
•  Draw a scene in your house showing what penguin(s) would be doing

*Note: These craft ideas are just suggestions. You can use them, but you don't have to use them. You can expand upon them, or add your own twist. Remember, though, that the focus of your time should not be on the development and execution of a craft; the focus should be on the read-aloud and the enjoyment of the book!