Mr. Popper was a house painter. During the winter he read books on polar exploration while Mrs. Popper swept around him. He wrote letters to explorers. He wrote one to Admiral Drake in the Antarctic. Admiral Drake sent him an Antarctic penguin, which he named Captain Cook. Mr. Popper, Bill, and Janie Popper were overjoyed. Mrs. Popper was not quite so pleased.
But the penguin drooped. An appeal to a great aquarium brought not a cure but another droopy penguin named Greta. Both penguins stopped drooping, and before long there were ten more penguins. But Mr. Popper did not have enough money to support a family of people and a family of penguins. Finally he had an idea: he would train his flock for the stage. And that's where the fun began!