Lost in Literature

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.

[Don't forget to vote on the poll!]

-The Newsie


  1. My mind has been blown!

    1. I'm glad ;) They're a childhood favorite.

  2. Anonymous09:38

    Heyyy!!! My mom read those books to me when I was little! I loved them! No one ever knows about them! I'll mention the twins and people have no one idea that there were ever children other than Michael and Jane! haha *high five*
    Plus....(here's the real reason the movie was my favorite EVER growing up) my dad owns a chimney service business in Boston, and even though he doesn't wear a top-hat, we always associated Burt with him. :D My older brother and I used to do "Steppin' Time" on the back of our couch with brooms. :D

    1. SOMEONE HAS READ THEM!!! I'm so happy to FINALLY find someone! Hahaha. I know, no one knows about the twins, or Robertson Aye for that matter (who is one of my favorite characters).

      That is totally awesome! Steppin' Time is one of my favorite scenes in that movie. You just went up in awesome points in my opinion. :)

    2. I loved the books too (I'm the older brother mentioned above). I think Mary Poppins opens the door is probably my favorite, because of Mrs. Calico and the Crack before the New Year. I remember having my mind completely blown by the ending, when she walks through the "other door".

      I'd be willing to bet that Mary Poppins was my first experience with the mantra of "The book is always better than the movie". It's cool to know there are other people who feel the same way. :)

    3. It's nice to meet you. I'm always glad when new people read my columns.

      Haha, I loved Mrs. Calico! And I sat there for a while trying to figure out the "other door" paradox! Yes, this is a classic illustration that the book is always better than the movie, even though I still love the movie in its own way.

      In your "About Me" on your website, you say you do parkouring? I'm assuming that means parkour? If you are, that it really awesome. /random

      But yes, I wish more people would read these books. I loved them. I can't say that I have a favorite, but I do especially love Mary Poppins Opens the Door and Mary Poppins in the Park.

    4. Yeah, I wasn't sure if parkour had a present-participle form, so I invented one. :)

      And I definitely agree; Just because the book is better doesn't mean the movie is bad. It's going to be required viewing in my house.