This isn't really a book review. It is more of...an "appreciation" for a great book [series, actually] that I feel gets looked over.
Everybody knows of Mary Poppins right? Julie Andrews singing "Just a teaspoon of sugar makes the medicine go down, medicine go doooown..." instantly comes to mind. But what most people don't know is that is based off of a book, or two books, by P.L. Travers: Mary Poppins and Mary Poppins Comes Back.
As a child, Mary Poppins was one of my favorite Disney movies. I loved the scene where they all have tea on the ceiling and have to think of something sad to get down. And my favorite part is when they go into the chalk picture and ride carousel horses and ride in a horse race.
But I can remember picking up the book Mary Poppins from our shelf one day and, feeling some doubt, starting to read it. It was during that time I was in the musical The Little Mermaid, and I would sit backstage on off-time during rehearsals and shows and devour Mary Poppins. I quickly read the three sequels we had, and loved every one of them!
What is quite sad is that everyone has heard of the movie, but no one has heard of the books! I think I am the only person I know of who has read them [or at least four of them]. While reading, they enchanted me with their tales of a magical nanny who has no tolerance of nonsense; Jane and Michael who are caught up on wild adventures; John and Barbara, the twins; Robertson Aye, the gardener who has a hidden secret; the People Under the Dandelions; and a whole host of other characters including Admiral Boom, the Ice Cream man, Ellen the housekeeper, and Mrs. Brill the cook.
These books are sheer genius. The first being published in 1934 in London, it tells about the Banks family living on Number Seventeen Cherry Tree Lane and their extraordinary experiences with a truly extraordinary nanny. The writing is fresh, brilliant, and classic. The characters well-developed and memorable.
Some may think it is a childish book, and yes, Mary Poppins is perfect for children to read. But I still enjoy every bit of it. And C.S. Lewis once said, “A children's story that can only be enjoyed by children is not a good children's story in the slightest.”
So if you are looking for a good read, then I highly suggest Mary Poppins. Sit back with a nice cup of tea and lose yourself in London early 1900s, with Miss Lark and her dog Andrew, Bart the Pavement Artist, Miss Corrie and her gingerbread, the Balloon Lady whose balloons cary you over the park, and Mary Poppins herself.
Add a wild East Wind, an elegant ball beneath the sea, a trip to a distant planet, a remarkable experience under the marigolds in the park, Miss Calico's enchanted candy canes, a circus in the sky, and timeless London jargon and you are in for a wild, classic adventure.
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