Mary Poppins by PL Travers

TitleMary Poppins
Author: PL Travers
Narrator: Sophie Thompson
Genre: children’s fiction
ISBN: 9780739366790
Length: 3.75 hours
Published: 1934
Source: public library
Rating: 3.5/5
Resolutions/Challenges: none

Reason for Reading: I had just finished reading Home: A Memoir of My Early Years by Julie Andrews and she ended the memoir right before she started working on the film Mary Poppins so I just thought to finally read that book since I never had.

Summary (from Amazon):

For all her offended sniffs and humphs, Mary Poppins is likely the most exciting nanny England–and the world–has ever seen. Young Jane and Michael Banks have no idea what’s in store for them when Mary Poppins blows in on the east wind one autumn evening. Soon, though, the children are having tea on the ceiling, flying around the world in a minute (visiting polar bears and hyacinth macaws on the way), and secretly watching as their unusual nanny pastes gold paper stars to the sky. Mary’s stern and haughty exterior belies the delightful nonsense she harbors; her charges, as well as her literary fans, respect and adore her.

Grownups who have forgotten Mary Poppins’s true charms will be tickled pink to rediscover this uniquely unsentimental fantasy. Younger readers will walk into Mary’s world without batting an eye–of course the animals in the zoo exchange places with people on the night of the full moon. Certainly a falling star landing on a cow’s horn will make her dance ceaselessly. Why wouldn’t one be able to enter into a chalk picture? The only disappointing aspect of this classic is that it doesn’t go on forever! (Ages 9 to 12) –Emilie Coulter

My Thoughts: This book is NOTHING like the Walt Disney musical film.

That being said, I rather enjoyed this book. Rather than talking about how much it is different from the musical and how, I think I am able to look at this one somewhat objectively. That is easy, since it’s so different. Despite the strictness of Mary Poppins, she allows for magical moments to happen to Jane, Michael, and the twins John and Barbara. While she hardly makes the magic happen, she knows how to let it occur and especially how to turn it into some educational moment to teach the children something. I especially liked the story where John and Barbara, the baby twins, are able to talk to animals and elements (such as sunlight and the sparrow). But that they can’t speak the language after they get teeth and start to learn how to talk. Wouldn’t it be nice to think that this is true? But obviously we don’t remember that sort of thing, being so young. I like this sort of magic. The magic that could so easily be real, not like Harry Potter 😕

While I’m sure that I like this book as a completely separate entity from the film, it was hard to actually rate it. If I hadn’t seen the film hundreds of times, it might have been easy. I figured I’d probably give it a 1 or 2 in comparison to the film (the film is so happy and cheerful, whereas the book isn’t as exciting), but a 3/4 on it’s own. So, obviously, that means I gave it a 3.5 🙂


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