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Review: Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins Book CoverBy P.L. Travers
Pages: 209
Date Finished: 9/11/17

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By P.L. Travers, the author featured in the major motion picture, Saving Mr. Banks. From the moment Mary Poppins arrives at Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane, everyday life at the Banks house is forever changed.

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!


I picked this up at a thrift store to read to the six year old, who hasn’t seen the movie. My plan was to finish the book before introducing her to the movie. BIG MISTAKE!

The Mary Poppins of the book is very different from the Mary Poppins of the movie. Vain, condescending, and rude – Mary Poppins is not someone who should be watching children. She is narcissistic to the point where you might actually accuse her of child neglect and emotional abuse.

Actually, about that, Mary Poppins is the best of the worst when it comes to gas-lighting the children. “What? No? That incredible adventure we just had? Never happened. Why would even suggestion such a thing? You must have imagined it all.” Seriously, this is how almost every chapter ends. Kinda takes the wind right outta their sails.

The adventures they have are really imaginative, but it’s hard to enjoy them. And it’s hard to understand why the children grow so attached to Mary Poppins. In fact, I don’t understand the appeal of this book at all.

Bottom Line:

Neither the six year old or I liked Mary Poppins, and it has had the unfortunate side effect of turning her off from chapter books. I don’t know how Mary Poppins became a Children’s Classic. In my option it doesn’t deserve that title. Skip the book, in this case the movie is better.

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