Book Review

REVIEW: Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers

Mary Poppins (Mary Poppins, #1)Mary Poppins
P. L. Travers
Kindle edition (borrowed from library)

Most people should know the story of Mary Poppins (whether from this book or the Disney movie version).  You know, the magical Nanny who takes care of some kids in England?  They have some silly adventures and have ridiculous parents?

Anyway, let me start by saying Disney’s Mary Poppins is my favorite non-animated Disney movie.  I love the music and Mary Poppins and the funny things she does.  Having said that, I was surprised that the book and movie were so very different.  Of course,  I expected differences (the movies are never the exact same!), but I was not prepared for the significant differences such as: Jane and Michael having twin siblings, the different adventures within the book and most importantly, Mary Poppins herself.

Quite frankly, I didn’t think she was a very likable character at all, and Julie Andrews’ Mary Poppins is so endearing and everyone loves her (“It’s a jolly holiday with Mary”… right?).  She was very vain and not very nice at all in the book.  I tried very hard to rid myself of the Disney version of the character and after a short time, it was easy enough to do considering the different personalities of these two women with the same name.  But I had a hard time trying not to compare certain scenes and wondering when a beloved scene from the movie would appear in the story only to never find it.

In the movie, the kids and parents (or at least the father), all learn a lesson and have a better relationship and Mary Poppins really does care for the children; in the book, I didn’t get that feeling at all on either of these points.

I’m glad I read this just to see the inspiration for the movie, but I’ll stick with Julie Andrews, thanks!  I don’t plan to read any of the other books in the series.


6 thoughts on “REVIEW: Mary Poppins by P. L. Travers

  1. Ohh, I have this book in French (I got it from Goodwill, I think?) I’ll have to try to get the kindle version (public domain, yay!) to refresh my memory. I love Mary Poppins the movie as well; I love the penguin dance and the tea-party scene.


  2. The movie was made in the 1960’s. In the 1940’s women were encouraged to fill in for the men at their jobs while the men went off to war. When they returned home afterwards, the women were expected to go back into the home and fill in the space of the mother/caregiver again. However, that didn’t happen. (Or if it did, we’d all have stay at home moms!) The Nanny was a stand in mother until the mother could come home again, and the role of the nanny was also to recreate the image of the family as it had been before the war. That’s why the movie is different from the book. The book was written in 1933.

    If you want to know more, I’ve posted in more detail about this on my blog.


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