In Mr. Popper’s Penguins, by Richard and Florence Atwater, Mr. Popper dreams of going to Antarctica one day. But the South Pole first comes to him when he receives a surprise penguin visitor via a package from the Antarctic explorer Admiral Drake. One penguin soon leads to 2, and then 8, followed by acclaim once they form a traveling act—The Popper Performing Penguins. It’s a classic story students and teachers love and a great way for young readers to learn about penguins and reflect on the importance of natural habitats.

    Because this story is so entertaining and engaging, it’s a perfect book to help students improve their reading comprehension and reflect on its main ideas and themes. By reading and discussing Mr. Popper’s Penguins, students learn how to effectively connect with the text to get more value from their reading experience, which ultimately leads to a greater appreciation and love for reading. Here are some questions to inspire reflection and help students dive deeper into the meaning behind the story:  

  • How did Mr. Popper receive Captain Cook? 
  • Have you ever received an unexpected surprise in the mail? What was it? How did it make you feel?
  • How did Monsieur Duval lose his balance?
  • How did Mr. Popper pay for his penguins’ upkeep? 
  • What other products do you think Mr. Popper’s penguins would be good at selling?
  • Additionally, this trifold reading response bookmark from Scholastic Teachables will help young readers further analyze main ideas and concepts and connect with the text to instill a deeper love of independent reading. This printable is free to subscribers of Scholastic Teachables or is available for individual purchase. Log in, or sign up now for a free 30-day trial.