Friday, April 4, 2008
By P.L. Travers
Mary Poppins is a nanny who arrives on Cherry Tree Lane to care for the Banks children, Jane, Michael, John and Barbara (twin infants). While with Mary the children go on all sorts of adventures, including meeting her uncle, who happens to be full of laughing gas that causes the children to float up into the air. They see and hear about a red cow (that formerly danced) and help a star shop for her six sisters. Eventually, the wind changes and as promised at the beginning of the book, Mary Poppins must leave on her next adventure.
So, I figured after my pouting session last week, I should go ahead and review Mary Poppins.
First the good. Mary Poppins is a very clever story. Actually, it's almost a collection of stories with each chapter bringing a new adventure. I particularly enjoyed the chapter shared by the baby twins where they both emphatically declare that they won't grow up. Or at least, if they do grow up that they will still be able to speak with animals, the wind, and other parts of nature. My favorite part of that chapter is when the twins are crying and their mother is trying to comfort them for something unrelated. Eventually John takes pity on her explaining that it's not really her fault that she never says the right thing and stops crying. Don't you ever wonder if that's what really happens? I don't have kids, but some days watching other parents calm their kids it seems like that might be happening. Screaming, screaming, screaming. Mom and dad trying to calm them down and then suddenly, even though nothing has changed baby is fine again.
I also really enjoyed the trip to the zoo at night. Everything was reversed, so people were in cages and the animals walked around. Fortunately, no one tried to eat Jane or Michael as they wandered with the animals.
Now, the not so good. I hated Mary Poppins. She was vein, rude, and always yelling at the kids. She lied and actually stole from them too. There didn't really seem to be any reason for this. She just simply didn't seem to like kids. Which, is kind of ironic since she practically volunteered to be their nanny. When she was with Bert (the match man, not chimney sweep), she was quite delightful and fun. It was only when the children were around that she was nasty.
I don't necessarily mind people that are rude, mean, etc in books if there is a reason for it. Snape was a good foil for Harry throughout the books. But, meanness for the sake of meanness, just got annoying.
On the whole, the book was ok. I would probably give it 3.5 stars out of five - slightly better than ok, but not great. As much as I hate to say it, I would probably recommend watching the movie over reading this one. At least the movie leaves you with a good taste in your mouth (except for Chainreader :) ). Plus, I am cheesy and like Julie Andrews musicals.
Posted by KT at 11:16 AM