Thursday, November 3, 2011

Book Review: Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers

Book Description:
From the moment Mary Poppins arrives at Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane, everyday life at the Banks house is forever changed. This classic series tells the story of the world's most beloved nanny, who brings enchantment and excitement with her everywhere she goes. Featuring the charming original cover art by Mary Shepard, these new editions are sure to delight readers of all ages.

It all starts when Mary Poppins is blown by the east wind onto the doorstep of the Banks house. She becomes a most unusual nanny to Jane, Michael, and the twins. Who else but Mary Poppins can slide up banisters, pull an entire armchair out of an empty carpetbag, and make a dose of medicine taste like delicious lime-juice cordial? A day with Mary Poppins is a day of magic and make-believe come to life!

My thoughts:

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers was on our free read list from last year, but Destini pleaded with me to skip it. She had remembered the listening to the audio when her older brother had listened to it several years ago and thought that Mary Poppins was mean. So I obliged--until we attended Mary Poppins on Broadway earlier this summer. I brought home our own personal copy of Mary Poppins as a souvenir and told Destini we were going to read it and see how it compared with the show. With summer vacation and a trip to my parents it was a couple of months before we were able to get to it.

The book Mary Poppins does not resemble the Disney film nor the Broadway Musical very closely at all. Mary Poppins is strict and brisk in her manners. She is also very concerned about her appearance. She does take the children on some funny, some weird, and some hilarious escapades, but when they are finished she acts like they never happened. This leaves the children confused, but through all of this they seem to love her and are very disappointed when the west wind blows her away.

So what is the charm in Mary Poppins? The magical adventures are fun and you can't help but like Jane, Michael and the twins.  Mary Poppins herself is not that loveable and takes some getting used to. After we finished the book, Destini's first question was if we were going to read the next book, Mary Poppins Comes Back. She still feels the Mary Poppins isn't very nice, but she is curious to know what will happen next. I am curious to know just to see if story elements from Mary Poppins Comes Back are in the film or the Broadway show. Kind of weird, I know, but that just really interests me!

Overall, I don't think that Mary Poppins is a must read, but I don't think it is a waste of time either. There are pros (all the fun magical incidents) and cons (Mary Poppin's briskness).  Hopefully, we will be able to continue the series just to see how things turn out and have a more definite opinion on Mary Poppins!

See what other's are reading aloud over at Hope Is the Word.


  1. I read this one to my girls when they were VERY young, and I thought it was rather macabre and weird. I remember something about a candy shop and the proprietress biting off someone's fingers, or something like that. It's definitely not the Disney-fied version! :-)

    Thanks for linking up!

  2. I read all the Mary Poppins books when I was a child and I loved them. I have found, however, that none of my children enjoyed the books - but hey aren't familiar with the Disney movie, either. Perhaps P.L. Travers is an acquired taste?

  3. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  4. I think maybe Mary Poppins teaches that love and caring aren't always unmixed with "briskness"? Some people come across "all business" and with a gruff exterior, but are truly loving and lovable underneath.

    Or maybe not.

    1. "Love and caring aren't always unmixed with briskness." I agree! I just read the book for the first time, and though it's quite different from the movie I grew up watching, I loved the book. I think the magical adventures are fascinating, creepy parts and all (fairy tales are more creepy than this!). I loved the twins' temporary ability to communicate with animals. I loved the nighttime zoo visit, I loved the chapter when one of the Pleiades comes to the department store for Christmas gifts. Yes, Mary Poppins isn't cuddly or sweet, yet the children find her intriguing. I was sad with them when she left at then end. I'll definitely be reading more of these!

  5. We read (and loved) the Mary Poppins book, but I have all boys and they liked her snippiness and the strange turns that the adventures took.



Related Posts with Thumbnails