Thursday, 6 October 2011

Review: Mary Poppins

Title: Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins #1)
Author: P.L. Travers
Publisher: Harcourt Children’s Books
Publication Date: June 1st 2006, first published 1934
Genre: Children’s Fiction, Fantasy

When Katie Nana leaves her position of nanny at Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane, the Banks family needs to find an immediate replacement. The Banks children, Jane, Michael and the infant twins John and Barbara, are in need of a nanny and Mrs. Banks quickly puts an advertisement in the paper. When Mary Poppins shows up at the Banks’ door, she’s unlike any nanny they have ever seen. She doesn’t give references and acts as if she were doing them a favour by taking the position. Jane and Michael have never seen anyone slide up a banister, or have conversations with dogs. And Katie Nana certainly never spent her day off jumping into a chalk painting. Perhaps the most peculiar thing about Mary Poppins is that she never seems to remember any of these things afterwards. After nighttime visits to the zoo, tea parties on the ceiling and even visits to the North Pole, Number Seventeen will never be the same.

Mary Poppins is easily one of my favourite movies from my childhood, but for some reason I never bothered to read the book. Usually, I’ll read the book first then worry about the movie not being as good as the book. For Mary Poppins, I was a little bit worried that the book wouldn’t compare to how much I love the movie. I ended up really liking it, even though it was quite different from the movie. While the movie is set in 1910, the book is set in the 1930’s. And the Banks have four children instead of two. The main difference is that in the movie Mary Poppins is there to bring the family together, while in the book that isn’t the case at all. No lesson is really learnt. We know very little about Mr. and Mrs. Banks and they are completely oblivious to what goes on when they are not around. This book is a lot simpler than the movie, and there is less of a plot. Each chapter is a new adventure, and overall it was very fun and enchanting. The Mary Poppins in the book is vain, strict and a little bit frightening. She’s much more mysterious than in the movie and I love the scene where the sterling calls her the “great exception” to the rule about children forgetting how to understand the wind and the birds. It was a quick read that was well written and full of magic. Imaginative and original, this is a great book for children. It was a really cute story and I can see why it is considered a classic. I’ll always love the movie, but I think that the book’s simplicity was wonderful.


“Don't you know that everybody's got a Fairyland of their own?”

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