I loved Mr Popper. We too, had a basement when I was growing up, but I couldn't figure out how to get my parents to turn it into a skating rink! I was a dreamer, too as a kid, but I wanted to go off with Tarzan, not with Captain Cook. Children should identify also with the more practical Mrs. Popper. Who doesn't have a realist in their life? :) I especially liked seeing Mrs. Popper succumb to the penguins' charm. When I have children of my own, I will be sure and read this book to them. It is one of the funniest books in print for children and reminds me of another favorite old animal book, Dodie Smith's original version of 101 Dalmations! Both are on my "must read to my own kids" list.