Mr. Popper paints houses. He’s never left the town of Stillwater, even though he would desperately love to see the arctic polar regions. One day, Mr. Popper is surprised to receive an unexpected gift from an Admiral on an arctic expedition. It turns out to be a penguin, and the Popper children treat him as a new member of the family. After a while their houseguest begins to get lonely, at least until a local zoo sends the Poppers a female penguin for company. Before long, the Popper household is filled with baby penguins!
As cool as it might sound to have exotic animals for pets, you have to be careful what you wish for! I loved reading about how much changed in the Popper household once the penguins began to settle in. The birds lived in the refrigerator during the summer, so Mr. Popper had to have air holes punched in the door! During the winter months he would just leave the windows open, but the rest of the family had to wear their winter coats inside! Eventually, feeding this flock became so expensive that Mr. Popper had to earn money by turning the birds into trained performers!
I’ve heard stories about people who keep exotic animals as pets, like pythons or even tigers, but these stories never seem to have a happy ending. Even though Mr. Popper was a very attentive pet owner, he still felt as if his penguins would feel more at home in the wild. But what do you think? Should people be allowed to keep exotic animals as pets? Would these animals be happier in a zoo, or even left alone in their natural habitat?