by P. L. Travers, rrp $13
With the stage production of Mary Poppins enjoying great success in Melbourne, I realised that whilst that whilst the film was a much-loved part of my childhood, I had never read the book! Eager to rectify this oversight, I grabbed a copy of our recently arrived 75th anniversary special edition and curled up on a comfy chair.
It did not disappoint! Travers’ Mary is as vivid a character on paper as she was on screen, with her no-nonsense attitude and haughty vanity, as well as her (almost hidden) affection for the Banks’ children jumping from the page. It was no surprise that the book differed from its adaptations. The banks children, Jane and Michael, have twin baby siblings, John and Barbara, who also feature in the wonderous tales. The children are in awe of their mysterious and taciturn nanny, and whilst they are somewhat fearful of her silent austerity, they listen to Mary Poppins because they love her and long for the next adventure (which won’t come if they’re naughty!).
All the favourites are there: Bert the chimney sweep who vies for Mary’s affections, the laughing uncle who floats in the air, the bird woman at St Paul’s who sells breadcrumbs “tuppence a bag”, and a day in the park that turns out to be extraordinary. Along with these stories, are new gems such as Mrs Corry, the tiny but fierce sweet shop owner and a magical visit to the zoo.
Mary Poppins is a captivating and gorgeous whimsical story full of wry humour, gentle affection and imagination. It is as relevant today as it was 75 years ago, come and get your copy now before the east wind blows her away again!!
In store now!