Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers

Review published on January 15, 2015. Reviewed by Emma-Dawn Farr

We all know Mary Poppins, from the Walt Disney film, but how many of us have actually read the book? I decided it could be my Christmas read for 2014. Mary Poppins is the first of six books written by PL Travers in 1934. When their new nanny arrives on a gust of the East Wind, greets their mother, and slides up the banister, Jane and Michael’s lives are turned magically upside down.

The words in the book and the images that have been added are enticing enough for the reader – of any age – to be lured into the story, although there perhaps is a side that would only be noticed by adult readers. Mary Poppins is quite a sharp, formidable character who, in the novel doesn’t suffer fools gladly. A particular point is when Michael is arguing with her about a particular instance to which she replies much more sharply than I perhaps would when speaking to a child. Equally, at the beginning of the book we are told about the personalities of Jane and Michael and, maybe he needs the response in order for him to be reminded of his “place”.

This would be an interesting book to read with a book club, based on that Disney film that we all know, and can probably quote. I wonder what people would make of the ‘real’ her. I am quite interested now in reading the other six books to see how the character develops “before the wind changes”.

– Emma-Dawn Farr

Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers, published by HarperCollins Children’s Books on 3rd November, 2008 at £6.99

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