Mary Poppins

While in Shanghai my mind wandered to Mary Poppins. Of course there were a couple triggers that set my mind wandering.

The first trigger was an article about Mary Poppins in an English language newspaper that I was reading at breakfast. It mentioned that there was a new Mary Poppins movie in the works. The reporter speculated as to whether it would use material from some of the other Mary Poppins books. Mary Poppins Returns is currently expected to premier on Christmas in 2018 and will feature Emily Blunt as Mary.

Mary Poppins Movie, Walt Disney, Julie Andrews, Dick Van DykeThe second trigger was the movie Saving Mr. Banks. The movie was playing on one of the movie channels and told the story of Walt Disney and the making of the Mary Poppins movie. In the movie Tom Hanks played Walt Disney and P.L. Travers, the author of Mary Poppins, was played by Emma Thompson.

After watching the movie I was curious to see how much different the books were from the movie. Before I left Shanghai I went to the library website and placed holds on the first four books of the Mary Poppins series.

P. L. Travers, Mary Shepard, Mary PoppinsI was able to stop by the library on the way home from the airport and pick up the first books.

Mary Poppins was published in 1934. As mentioned before the books are by Pamela Lyndon Travers, but she is almost always referred to as P. L. Travers. The illustrations in the book are by Mary Shepard. I really like her illustrations.

The stories in the book were familiar, but I knew that they were different from the movie even though I had not seen it for a very long time.

Of course, the musical numbers were not in the book, but there were also many other differences between the book and the movie.

For instance, there were four kids: Jane, Michael and the twins

Bert was a match man in the book and in the movie he is a combination of several other characters.

Mary and Bert jump into the picture by themselves in the book, and in the movie they take Jane and Michael along with them. One of my favorite scenes in the book was Jane and Michael visiting the Bird Lady. In the book they actually get to feed the birds, and they don’t make a visit to the bank.

Mary Poppins Comes Back, P. L. Travers, Mary ShepardThe second book which was published in 1935 is Mary Poppins Comes Back.

At the end of the first book Mary Poppins floated away with her umbrella. In this book she returns on the end of a kite string.

The book details more adventures of Mary Poppins and her charges before she again makes a spectacular exit. This time it is on a merry-g0-round horse.

The second book also introduces a fifth little Banks. Annabel the new baby sister joins the family.

Mary Poppins opens the door, P. L. Travers, Mary ShepherdThe third book Mary Poppins Opens the Door was published in 1943.

In this book Mary Poppins appears out of the sky during a fireworks celebration for Guy Fawkes’ Day.

Again there are wonderful adventures that conclude with Mary Poppins exiting out of a door that is reflected in a mirror.

Mary Poppins in the Park, P. L. Travers, Mary Shepard, booksMary Poppins in the Park was published in 1952. This book does not have a spectacular entrance or exit by Mary Poppins. Instead, P. L. Travers tells stories that could have happened on any of the three previous visits from Mary Poppins.

Again the children have wonderful adventures and we meet some more wonderful characters.

Mary Poppins from A - Z, P. L. Traver, Mary Shepard, Alphabet BookMary Poppins from A-Z was published in 1962 and is an alphabet book. The book has 26 one page chapters that are each across the page from a wonderful illustration by Mary Shepard.

Each chapter starts similar to the first. The first one starts with ‘A is for Annabel’ and then uses as many words that start with A as possible to tell a little story.

Mary Poppins in the Kitchen, P. L. Travers, Cookery BookMary Poppins in the Kitchen was published in 1975.

Mr. and Mrs. Banks are called away on business and the cook also has to take leave to help her sister. This leaves Mary Poppins in charge of the cooking for a week.

Of course, this leads to some interesting times in the kitchen. The book has some wonderful stories and there is also a section called Mary Poppins Cookery Book from A to Z which shares recipes for each letter of the alphabet.

Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane, P. L. Travers, Mary Shepard, Midsummers EveMary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane was published in 1982.

This book takes place in the park on Midsummer’s Eve when all types of mystical happenings take place. Many of the characters from earlier books make an appearance in this short book.

Mary Poppins and the House Next Door, P. L. Travers, Mary ShepardMary Poppins and the House Next Door was published in 1988.

I really liked this book as it told a very good story from end to end. Of the last four books this is my favorite.

Travers was born in 1899, so this book was published when she was in her late 80’s.

I also checked to see how old Mary Shepard was and she was born in 1910 so would be in her late 70’s.

One fact about Mary Shepard that I found interesting was that her father E. H. Shepard was the illustrator of Winnie-the-Pooh.

I know this is a long post, but I didn’t want to divide this among several posts.

I also could have written much more, but decided I wanted to just give you a taste of these wonderful books and let you explore them on your own.

I will say that I like the Mary Poppins of the books much better than the Mary Poppins of the movie.

Have you read any of the Mary Poppins books?

Steven

 

 

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4 responses to “Mary Poppins

  1. I had no idea the movie was based on books. I definitely want to see it when it comes out. Thanks for this!

    • The new movie will not be based on any one book. It will only be based on the character created by Travers. It will be in depression era London where Mary Poppins will visit Michael as an adult.

      • I did say “based on books”, not “a book” but point taken. I look forward to seeing what they come up with. It was one of my favourites as a child.

  2. Have I read them? Yes, and some more! A couple of months ago, I started a blog about Pamela L. Travers and her Mary Poppins because I believe that Pamela was misunderstood and her magical and original character replaced by the entertaining Disney version. The movie Saving Mr.Banks did to Pamela L. Travers’s personal life exactly what the Mary Poppins movie did to her magical character, it distorted it. I am certain that the new movie is going to be a visual candy for the audiences and I will go see it but, the real character is the real deal!

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