Monday, March 3, 2014

Mary Poppins

Author: P.L. Travers
Illustrator: Mary Shepard
Published: 1934



This book is SO much better than the movie.  I like this Mary Poppins more than the Julie Andrews version who always seemed so fake to me.  This Mary Poppins, although a bit vain, is interesting, strict with the children, but the children know where they stand with her.

There are some line drawings in the book so we do get to see Mary Poppins and the children.  I do not get the impression that Mary Poppins was as lovely as the character in the movie, but this Mary Poppins is overly concerned with her appearance.  She spends a lot of time looking at herself in mirrors and windows.  This characteristic of Mary Poppins is a bit confusing.  I do not see why it is mentioned so much or why it is even in the story.  I might need to read more of the books.

The book also does not deal with the parents as much as the movie does.  The movie has Mary Poppins entering the lives of the children because their parents aren't very attentive.  We do not hear enough about the parents in this book to get that same feeling - lack of attentiveness, but maybe not mentioning them as much should lead me to that same conclusion.  I don't know.

I only read the first book and I could definitely see bits and pieces of the book in the movie, but the book had much more exciting events.  Mary Poppins blows into the lives of Jane and Michael Banks.  Literally, she blows in with the East wind and plans on staying until the direction of the wind changes.  She is the children's nanny and takes them on a trip around the world, takes them to a magical bakery that has real stars on the packaging which Mary Poppins then glues back into the sky, she takes them to the zoo in the middle of the night to celebrate her birthday, and she introduces the children to Maia, one of the stars in the Pleiades group of stars.

I'm left wanting to learn more about Mary Poppins.  How does she know the women at the magical bakery?  Why can she speak to animals, the wind, and sunlight?  How can she be related to Mr. Wigg and to Hamadryad?  I'm not sure if any of these questions are answered in any of the other books, but I hope so.

I will read this book aloud to my students.  It is the type of book that the students will want to pick up and read too.  So, even if I don't get to the other books, I know that the students will read on and tell me more.  I'm looking forward to reading or learning about the next adventures and people the children encounter with Mary Poppins

Check this book out from the library.

1 comment:

Kristen Felix said...

Thanks for the post! I'd love to read this book to my second graders to gauge their reactions. I'm sure many of them haven't even seen the Disney movie Mary Poppins, so they will be coming from a different perspective.