June 1, 2011

reflecting upon Mr. Popper

Remember this fellow?   This is Mr. Popper, a house painter.   He is heading home in the fall season.  Will be too cold to paint for several months.  Mrs. Popper isn't exactly happy because (1) he's going to be underfoot all winter and (2) no money will be coming in.

For reasons explained in Mr. Popper's Penguins, he becomes the owner of a penguin!  Then two, then....

The book was written in 1938 and received the Newbery Honor award in 1939 (Thimble Summer won the medal that year).  To give you an idea of how long ago that was, Hitler had not invaded Poland yet.   Movie goers had not yet seen the movie Gone with the Wind in the Fox Theater in Atlanta.

I came along many years after these events, and discovered Mr. Popper sitting on the school library bookshelf when I was in elementary school.  He was one of my favorite characters.  I memorized the names of all his penguins ... my favorite picture was of Mr. Popper leading them in a parade with his family.

I noticed a trailer on t.v. that Mr. Popper's Penguins is going to be a Jim Carrey movie.  Mentioned it to my son who exclaimed it was one of his favorite childhood books too.  Then I searched local bookstores and found a copy to give to Maddy who will be entering third grade.  

Of course I had to re-read this first.    So interesting to see changes between 1938 and today.  Mr. Popper paid a handyman $5 to poke breathing holes in an icebox for Captain Cook (the first penguin).    Five dollars!  What handyman works for five bucks?      Mr. Popper also wanted an handle inside the door so that Captain Cook could let himself out.  There was an argument, so Mr. Popper paid an additional $5.00 to add the handle.

Captain Cook sets up a nest inside the icebox.  Reading the list of items he has collected around the house is a fun read .... many aren't in your own home nowadays, I guarantee. 

I'm not sure if I will like the movie's spin on the story with Jim Carrey as Mr. Popper.  But I plan to see the movie.  If you buy the book, be sure to get the one illustrated by Robert Lawson!

What old old friends (childhood books)  have you re-read recently?

Mr. Popper's Penguins, authors:  Richard and Florence Atwater, illustrator: Robert Lawson, published 1938.  Source:  purchased myself for granddaughter

1 comment:

Jenn Fontaine said...

My older two loved this book and I can't wait to take them to the movie!