Like many people I had not read the original Mary Poppins before now but, as most of us are, I am very familiar with the Disney film version of the 1960s – the iconic characters and songs that have long been part of my memories. So it was with great intrigue that I approached the book.
Mary Poppins is the story of the magical nanny that blows in on the East Wind and lands into the lives and home of the Banks children – Jane and Michael and their younger twin siblings, John and Barbara. A stern and enchanting figure, she leaves an indelible mark on Number 17 Cherry Tree Lane and the young children who quickly grow to idolise her.
Throughout the story we are taken on a mesmerising journey with Mary and the children from one dreamlike adventure to the next. We travel the world with them as they meet a whole array of wonderfully engaging characters – Bert the matchman who draws pavement pictures that you can jump into, Mr Wigg whose laughter keeps him perched up in the ceiling, the bird lady outside St Paul’s Cathedral and the magical Mrs Corry to name but a few.
I was fascinated by the story of the young twin siblings, characters not included in the film. Although the main thread of the story focuses on Jane and Michael’s relationship with Mary Poppins, the twins help to provide a deeper insight into the magical nanny which helps to give the story more clarity.
The wonderful characters and locations would be an ideal stimulus for a literacy topic in the classroom, with unlimited scope for writing and art ideas. The author, P.L. Travers, led a fascinating life and would provide an interesting and notable character to research.
I absolutely adored Mary Poppins. It is so full of quirkiness and oddities that you cannot help but be drawn into the weird and wonderful story of the mysterious nanny. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book in the series!
Originally published on the Books for Topics website here: