Synopsis: When Jane and Michael Banks draw up an advertisement for a nanny, Mary Poppins arrives on a gust of the East Wind and slides up the banister, changing their lives forever. Mary Poppins is a most efficient and loveable character – strict but fair, full of surprises and, in spite of her airs and graces, a true fairy-tale creature with universal appeal.
Soon the Banks children are whisked off on the most exciting journeys they had ever had. But Mary Poppins has only promised to stay until the wind changes…
Release Date: 1st December 2013 (this version) 1934 (original version)
Format Read: Paperback
Genres: Historical, Classic, Middle Grade, Fantasy, Magic, Adventure, Teen
Review: Where was the magic? Where was the fun? Everything in this book was utterly not what I was expecting or wanting. I knew it wouldn’t be the glorious magical movie, but I expected it to be somewhat similar to the movie as the movie was made from the book, however it really wasn’t similar at all.
I didn’t find much enjoyment in this book, it felt very long even if it was only 173 pages. It dragged on so very much and I felt like it was never ending, the plot was pretty dull, yes they had adventures in a way but not like the movie at all. They blipped in and out of unusual situations but were blipped out just as quick as though nothing really ever happened.
Mary Poppins herself wasn’t a fun, kind, magical or perfect woman at all, she wasn’t very considerate or kind to the children always seeming so very rude to them. I do get she was a nanny but with how kind she was in the movie I expected her personality to be pretty similar, I was wrong. Jane and Michael were not all that different, though in this story we get the addition of twin baby siblings John and Barbara which was an interesting twist in the story. Most additional characters were in the story for no more than a chapter which was sad as I’d of loved to have had more of them throughout the story.
Mary did have magical objects just like in the movie, she had different ones too, though somehow they didn’t feel very magical even though they were. We still saw the bird woman and I couldn’t help sing in my head whilst reading and imagining the scene of her, though the chapter was certainly not the same as the movie.
Honestly I’m not sure what else to say, I didn’t find this what I expected, I was hoping for this to be the most magic story, with the long adventures with the children Mary Poppins and Bert but it wasn’t that literally not at all.
I am though happy to have read the book, it’s one I’d wanted to read for so long as the movie is one of my favourites and wanted to see the comparison but they are both completely different things that don’t really correlate much at all.
I’d rather take my spoon full of sugar or go dancing on the the chimneys than read this again, but at least I can say I read it.
Where to buy: Wordery, Book Depository, Waterstones
About Author: Pamela Lyndon Travers was an Australian novelist, actress and journalist, popularly remembered for her series of children’s novels about mystical nanny Mary Poppins.
She was born to bank manager Travers Robert Goff and Margaret Agnes. Her father died when she was seven, and although “epileptic seizure delirium” was given as the cause of death, Travers herself “always believed the underlying cause was sustained, heavy drinking”.
Travers began to publish her poems while still a teenager and wrote for The Bulletin and Triad while also gaining a reputation as an actress. She toured Australia and New Zealand with a Shakespearean touring company before leaving for England in 1924. There she dedicated herself to writing under the pen name P. L. Travers.
In 1925 while in Ireland, Travers met the poet George William Russell who, as editor of The Irish Statesman, accepted some of her poems for publication. Through Russell, Travers met William Butler Yeats and other Irish poets who fostered her interest in and knowledge of world mythology. Later, the mystic Gurdjieff would have a great effect on her, as would also have on several other literary figures.
The 1934 publication of Mary Poppins was Travers’ first literary success.Five sequels followed, as well as a collection of other novels, poetry collections and works of non-fiction.
The Disney musical adaptation was released in 1964. Primarily based on the first novel in what was then a sequence of four books, it also lifted elements from the sequel Mary Poppins Comes Back. Although Travers was an adviser to the production she disapproved of the dilution of the harsher aspects of Mary Poppins’s character, felt ambivalent about the music and disliked the use of animation to such an extent that she ruled out any further adaptations of the later Mary Poppins novels. At the film’s star-studded premiere, she reportedly approached Disney and told him that the animated sequence had to go. Disney responded by saying “Pamela, the ship has sailed.” and walked away. Travers would never again agree to another Poppins/Disney adaptation, though Disney made several attempts to persuade her to change her mind.
So fervent was Travers’ dislike of the Walt Disney adaptation and the way she felt she had been treated during the production, that well into her 90s, when she was approached by producer Cameron Mackintosh to do the stage musical, she only acquiesced upon the condition that only English born writers (and specifically no Americans) and no one from the film production were to be directly involved with the creative process of the stage musical. This specifically excluded the Sherman Brothers from writing additional songs for the production even though they were still very prolific. Original songs and other aspects from the 1964 film were allowed to be incorporated into the production however. These points were stipulated in her last will and testament.
Travers was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire in 1977. She died in London in 1996.
Although Travers never married, she adopted a boy when she was in her late 30s.