The middle of last year Home & School Mosaics, a website that I reviewed and wrote for, decided to shut down. One post that I wrote was part of the monthly book club. Since it is no longer available on Home & School Mosaics, I’m sharing it here.
This month we are focusing on the book, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, by Richard and Florence Atwater. I will be sharing my thoughts on the book as well as activities to do for each chapter. There is also a downloadable study guide for the book.
What was the book about?
The book was about a family man who was very unhappy with his job as a painter and decorator. His true passion would be exploring the world. One day he gets a surprise in the mail, a penguin from Antarctica. The penguin causes some minor funny issues but becomes a member of the family. Unfortunately, after a while, the penguin starts to get sick because he needs companionship. After another penguin arrives at the Popper’s home the first penguin starts to feel better, but then the family has to figure out how to keep two penguins happy. Trouble and craziness continue when Greta, the female penguin, lays 10 eggs. After a while, they are able to train the penguins and they become known as Popper’s Performing Penguins. Fun and excitement follow as the penguins go on the road to perform.
Did the book fulfill your expectations?
Having watched the movie, I was expecting a totally different story. The movie was over the top and had us laughing all of the time. The book and movies share a few similarities, but overall the main storylines are very different. That being said, I think I liked the book a lot more than the movie. It was funny, exciting, and a great story. I really liked that it wasn’t a book that I could easily tell what was going to happen next.
Did the book end the way you expected?
No, the ending was totally unexpected. It was fitting of Mr. Popper’s character, but I was definitely surprised by his decision at the end.
How realistic was the characterization?
The characters themselves, and the way they interact with each other, are very realistic. The situation they were put in was obviously unrealistic, but their handling of the problems was realistic. My favorite – and least favorite – character was Mr. Popper. He loves his family, but has his heads in the clouds and doesn’t seem to take bills and responsibility seriously. He is kind of selfish and likes to keep to himself. His wife on the other hand was down to earth and a worry wart. She was very practical throughout most of the book. I could definitely relate to Mrs. Popper.
Would you recommend the book?
Absolutely! The book was full of comedy, with a few unexpected surprises thrown in. It is a simple read that I am sure would be enjoyed by all ages.
There are so many fun activities that you can do with this book! Doing a unit study on penguins would be a great idea. Embracing Home has an amazing penguin unit study. There are dozens of activities, games, videos, and printables to help you learn about penguins.
Below are a few ideas I have come up with that go with the book..
Chapters 1 and 2
- Write a letter to Admiral Drake
- On a map label the North and South Pole
- Find Antarctica on the map and color it. You can find free printable maps at Your Child Learns.com
Chapters 3 and 4
- Label the parts of a penguin
- Make a Penguin Fact bookmark
Chapters 5 and 6
- Study penguin habitats
- How many words can you make out of the word “PENGUIN”? ( downloadable worksheet) There are 40 possible words.
Chapters 7 and 8
- Make a bird nest
- Write a newspaper article about Captain Cook
Chapters 9 and 10
- Draw a penguin
Chapters 11 and 12
- Make fake snow
- Build a house out of ice cubes or sugar cubes
Chapters 13 and 14
- Penguin money math (downloadable worksheet)
Chapters 15 and 16
- Make a comic strip showing the penguin’s act
Chapters 17 and 18
- On a map, color all of the states that the penguins visited
- Research what seals eat
Chapters 19 and 20
- Write a book report
- Compare and contrast the book and the movie
We were able to find an instant snow kit at the store; we just added water. AJ had a blast playing with it. It isn’t quite like real snow, but it was close enough. If you don’t want to buy fake snow, you could also make one of the numerous recipes on Pinterest.
Scroll down to download the Mr. Popper’s Penguins study guide. It includes vocabulary and questions for each chapter. Most of the questions are simply plot based, so if your child is able to read the book I think they would be able to complete the study guide.
A Penguin Bookmark
Throughout the book there are a lot of penguin facts. Make this book mark to keep your place while reading, and jot down facts when you find them. It is very simple.
- Card stock, or a file folder
- 1 sheet of black, white, and yellow construction paper
- googly eyes
First, cut out a piece of card stock or file folder into a rectangle the size you want your penguin bookmark.
Then, glue that piece onto the black construction paper.
Glue googly eyes near the top.
Cut out a beak and two feet for your penguin. Glue them into place.
Next, cut a white oval out of the construction paper. Glue it on your penguin.
Finally, round the head of your penguin. It is finished!
Other Penguin Resources
AJ loves the Magic School Bus series, so whenever we do a unit study I search to see if Ms. Frizzle has a book or video related to what AJ is learning about. Thankfully there is a Magic School Bus Chapter Book about Penguins! Penguin Puzzle is the 8th book in the series, and it didn’t disappoint. AJ loves that she can go on an adventure and learn new things at the same time. If you haven’t checked out the chapter books, you need to. They have more details and facts spread throughout the book, but they are presented in an older way. They are about a third to fourth grade reading level, but AJ still loves to read them.
March of the Penguin is a good video that has breath taking shots of the emperor penguin.
Penguins Book for Kids – This is a fact filled picture book all about penguins.
This American Girl Sew and Stuff Penguin Kit looks like a lot of fun. We haven’t tried the penguin one yet, but AJ enjoyed a few other ones. Make sure you keep all of the pieces together or you might end up loosing a vital piece.
Mix your love of penguins with even more science. In this crystal growing kit your child can grow a penguin crystal. We have grown quite a few crystal animals and objects and they are always a great learning experiment.
I hope you enjoy this study of Mr. Popper’s Penguins. It is free for my subscribers. If you already are a subscriber you will find this printable study in your email. Haven’t subscribed yet? Enter your email below to get access to this and all of my other subscriber only printables.