Saturday, July 9, 2011

Popper's Penguins

* Read via NetGalley

This book is definitely a solid 4 gnomes out of 5 gnomes because it is memorable and surprisingly entertaining throughout.  I read this book a long time ago and thought I should read it again because of the movie that came out based on the book.

Mr. Popper is a house painter so he only has money for about half of the year, the other half his family lives on what he makes.  Let's just say that the Popper's aren't exactly rich.  Mr. Popper looks forward to sitting around the house and his favorite radio show is about the polar explorer Admiral Drake.  He loves hearing about the arctic and is very surprised when he receives a present in the mail.  This present is a real live penguin.

This is a fun story to read and I laughed at a lot of parts that I had forgot about.  One of my favorite parts is that at first the family actually modifies the refrigerator so the penguin can live inside.  This is a pretty ingenious thing and makes quite a memorable image.  The illustrations in the book also help the story move along and add some great breaks to the book.

Having a penguin of course causes a commotion is town and it's not long before a girl penguin is added to the mix and after a while they end up with twelve penguins.  Then it kind of turns into a situation like in that episode of The Simpsons where they can't afford to feed and keep Lisa's horse.  The Popper's are a little more creative though and start an act featuring the penguins which soon makes them massively popular and extremely profitable.

There are problems and plenty of penguin shenanigans to overcome but you can really imagine what an entertaining show this would truly be.  The ending really shows it's age though and struck me at least a little strange for a children's book, it's probably more fitting for the era in which it was originally written.

Rereading this story made me realize all over again how good a story it is and how it has probably spurred many generations to love penguins.  Overall this book is one that stands the test of time and will probably be enjoyed far into the future.

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