• First, we’re having a GREAT time with the One School-One Book program…. Getting “thank you” notes from parents already about how it’s “forcing” some family reading time that they seemed to have lost over the years.
    — Paul Marinko - Principal at St. Paul's Lutheran School - Fort Wayne, IN
  • Since last spring, our entire school has excitedly embraced the One School, One Book Program. We will soon begin our spring selection: A Cricket in Times Square -- the third book we've adopted since the spring of 2010!

    We are so thrilled with the positive impact this program has had on our students, families, and staff
    — Laurie LaRue - First Grade Teacher at Edgewood School - Bristol, CT
  • I think the OSOB program is brilliant. My seven year-old attends Orleans Elementary in Massachusetts and they (we) are reading Masterpiece. Since the grades levels range from one to five at this school, finding a book to suit all is difficult. My daughter can follow the big picture somewhat but we have to reinforce what we’ve read because it’s a lot to take in for her.
    — Glenn Krzeminski - Parent of student at Orleans Elementary - Orleans, MA
  • The One District, One Book program promoted by Read To Them...is a powerful way to systemically address and promote a culture of literacy throughout the entire school system.

    My school actually adopted a hamster and even used it as “pet therapy” for many of the behaviorally challenged children in our school.
    — Kenny Moles of West Virginia

Mr. Popper’s Penguins

by Richard and Florence Atwater (1938)

An old chestnut. But just as tasty and intriguing for its age.

Sometimes schools are looking for a book that escapes from the spark and flash and bombast of the 21st century. That returns to simple prose and the elemental silliness of children’s imaginations.

Mr. Popper’s Penguins is such a book. First published during the Depression – it is miraculously still in print. Why is that?

It is because – like other classic children’s literature from before WW II, from L. Frank Baum’s Wizard of Oz to Hugh Lofting’s Dr. Doolittle, it takes a simple fantastic premise, and runs simply riot with it.

The simple house-painter, Mr. Popper, engages his peculiar, eccentric interest in all things Antarctic – and attempts to raise and care for a troop of penguins. Fantastic – and yet engaging and beguiling to literally generations of children – who marvel and caper at the silly antics of the penguins – but who also fall under the spell of a simple novel of redemption – without benefit of special effects and pyrotechnics.

That allows readers of this novel (or in our case listeners to this novel) to re-acquaint themselves with the value and beauty of simple English prose – meant to amuse and entertain – not to instruct.


Note: Mr. Popper’s Penguins is one of several OSOB titles that Read to Them recommends as easier, entry titles – perhaps easier for less experienced parent readers to master and command.

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