Mary Poppins (メアリー・ポピンズ (講談社英語文庫))

by P. L. Travers (トラヴァース)

Hardcover, 1992



Call number



Kodansha English Library. 講談社 (1992), 文庫, 233 pages


An extraordinary English nanny blows in on the East Wind with her parrot-headed umbrella and magic carpetbag and introduces her charges, Jane and Michael, to some delightful people and experiences.

User reviews

LibraryThing member Wombat
On a recent trip to New York City, our daughter wanted to see Mary Poppins, the musical. I tracked down some discount tickets and we went. Somewhat to my surprise, the play was more than just a translation of the Disney movie to stage. While it included many songs from the movie and repeated many
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of the favorite lines, it also made major changes to the characters of Mr. and Mrs. Banks and added a variety of new plot elements. In contrasting the play with the movie, I got to wondering whether the new material came from the Mary Poppins books, or from the producers' imaginations. Since we had a copy of the book at home (Lady Wombat used to teach it), I decided to read it and find out.

This was an entertaining book, but one that probably works much better for its intended audience---kids. My curiosity about the book, and enjoyment of it, largely came from seeing the source material for the Disney movie (and the Broadway musical). It left me wishing my daughter were a bit younger (6-8) so I could try reading it to her. In fact, I find it puzzling that we didn't read it to her, considering that she's always enjoyed Mary Poppins, the movie, and we've probably had the book since before she was born.

The book has many similarities to the movie. Mary Poppins is a magical nanny who mysteriously shows up at the home of Jane and Michael Banks (and their younger twin siblings). The book consists of twelve chapters, each of which tells of a different story or adventure. Some of these incidents are familiar from the movie---jumping into chalk pavement pictures and having tea floating in mid-air. But despite the many plot similarities, the overall tenor of the book is quite different from the movie. Mary is just as magical, but much less sugar-coated---sterner and more formidable. And in the book, there is no notion that Mary has come to 17 Cherry Tree Lane to "fix" the Banks family. Also, unlike the movie where most of the magic seems to stem from Mary, in the book, Mary is one of many characters who seem to live as part of a magical extension to the real world.

Many reviewers (here and on other sites) describe the Mary Poppins of the books as "mean." She is definitely not as kindly as in the movie, but I really don't see her being mean. She is stern, and definitely not going out of her way to make the world a better place for everyone. But even in the book, Mary has her acts of kindness (the Christmas Shopping chapter comes to mind).

And, in answer to my original question, at least some of the new material in the musical came from the book. The character of Mrs. Corry, for example, someone the kids buy gingerbread from. But beyond the superficial details, she is a different character, and the significance of her gingerbread is completely different.
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LibraryThing member homeschoolmimzi
Oh I know most people rave about this book and I've not too much company in my impressions here, but I didn't love this book as much as I'd expected to. I thought it was well written for a children's book (yes, for a children's book- despite the fact that P.L. Travers wanted to be known as a
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writer, not a children's author, to me this is a children's book, w/the characteristic repetitions and humor) I guess I wasn't too thrilled w/the character of Mary Poppins. She was irascible, unpredictable, rude and ornery, and yes mysterious and magical too. But somehow despite her mystery, she just was not endearing to me, and so I didn't feel like reading more about her. I don't think I'll be reading the series after all.
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LibraryThing member ctpress
Mary Poppin's eyes were fixed upon him, and Michael suddenly discovered that you could not look at Mary Poppins and disobey her. There was something strange and extraordinary about her - something that was frightening and at the same time most exciting.

This quote sums up the enjoyable and
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bewildering tales of Mary Poppins - nanny extraordinaire. She's brisk in her manners - self-conceited, elusive, mystifying and lovable. She's of course not of this world but only travelling through and making new friends along the way. Who knows who she will visit next? All children should meet her - it would do them good, I'm sure - even if it aches a little bit.

It was a mixed bag of stories, some too weird and silly, others mystical and beautiful, others just plain out hilarious. It wasn't a top read, but definitely a must-read children's classic.
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LibraryThing member stephxsu
I quite enjoyed this, which surprised me, considering how disconcerting I found the movie when I was younger, and how rude and vain of a person Mary Poppins is here. But for me, this book reminded me of a slightly darker version of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle or Pippi Longstocking books--you know, books
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about a whimsical, magical-ish person (a large part of what my EL510 class and I talked about was defining, exactly, the parameters of the magic that existed in MARY POPPINS, or how much magic Mary Poppins really has), with each chapter relating a standalone adventure. However, in between the vanity and the slightly darker aspects--the clueless nonmagical adults, the insults, the propensity of shadows (arrrgh, I've been corrected by the VHS movie version!!)--there is poignant commentary about "magic" (define it as you will) and our acceptance of it in our lives.
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LibraryThing member Wosret
I was looking forward to reading this as it's considered to be a classic of children's literature. I also knew that Mary Poppins would be quite different than she was in the movie, but I was not prepared for how much I would actively dislike her. There are some truly strange adventures (such as an
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old woman feeding infant twins her fingers - her actual fingers - as well as the same old woman verbally and physically abusing her adult daughters) and each chapter doesn't seem very connected with the last.

I got through most of it (reading it to my daughter at bed-time), but after telling my husband that I wasn't even enjoying the story, we agreed to put it aside for now and get back to the Oz series.
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LibraryThing member traumleben
I found the Disney movie better than the book, not because of the syrup and singing, but because it had a plot and a coherent story arc, which the book does not. P.L. Travers does have an admirable imagination, but each chapter is a standalone magical adventure that bears little resemblance to the
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next, aside from their main characters. At least in the movie there was some dramatic tension created with a father who was focused more on his job and appearances than his children and a mother who was struggling with her role as suffragist and traditional wife. In the movie, tension is resolved with a big blow up at Mr. Banks' bank. The book fizzles. I bought the series for my kids long ago, but other books always took priority. I loaned the first to a friend -- having never read it myself -- and she was unable to finish it with her son. As anyone would be, he was rather put off by a candymaker woman who was sugar herself and could break off her fingers and feed them to the kids. She was also a harsh figure who berated her massively plump daughters. In another chapter, the zoo is turned inside out, with humans caged and animals enjoying the spectacle while a king cobra -- who is oddly some relation to Mary Poppins -- presides. It'll take courage for me to read the next book, but I'm expecting to be disappointed. I found the Wizard of Oz series much better.
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LibraryThing member nx74defiant
I was surprised how much I enjoyed this re-reading it. I hadn't enjoyed it the first time I read it. Maybe it was because I knew what to expect. Mary is no Julie Andrews. She is very stern and serious. She leads the children of amazing adventures and tells them stories. She denies that anything
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unusual happened. There is no real plot, just a series of events.
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LibraryThing member simchaboston
Very odd -- there is some of the whimsy I remember from the movie, but Mary Poppins is rather self-absorbed and often unpleasant. It'll be interesting to see if any of the follow-ups are in the same vein.
LibraryThing member Citizenjoyce
This is a perfect book about the nanny everyone loves, Mary Poppins. The reader can certainly recognize her from the movie in her extreme competence and ability to problem solve, but she's both a little harsher and more mystical in the book. There's a lovely scene in which she discusses with a
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starling the fact that babies can talk to animals and forces of nature because we are all one thing, but everyone, except Mary herself, loses that ability as they grow out of babyhood. In a scene at the night zoo we find that Mary is first cousin, once removed, to a king cobra. That accounts for her imposing nature, her refusal to waste time being nice, her demand for respect. I'd read that Travers was not happy with the Disneyfication of her book, and I'll bet that the leaving out of her mysticism was a great part of that dissatisfaction. Well worth reading at any age.
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LibraryThing member bragan
This is the latest in my ongoing, informal, off-and-on project of rereading books I enjoyed as a kid. Although it's possible this one just barely qualifies; I'm fairly certain I did read it at a very young age, but I remembered absolutely nothing about it, including whether I enjoyed it or not.
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Although it's probably pretty safe to assume I did.

I do remember reading somewhere that the movie version of Mary Poppins softened her character significantly, to the point where P. L. Travers was pretty miffed about it. I haven't seen the movie since I was fairly young, either, so I can't make any specific comparisons, but from what I remember of it, I totally see her point. It's completely impossible to imagine this version of Mary Poppins prancing around singing about spoonfuls of sugar. This Mary Poppins is truly wonderful -- in the sense of being full of wonders -- but she's not exactly nice. Which, being someone with a low tolerance for the saccharine, myself, I quite liked.

This isn't really much of a coherent story, more a loose collection of fantastical anecdotes. But it's cleverly written and lots of fun, and it holds up remarkably well, both for a book written in the 1930s, and for a children's book revisited as an adult.
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LibraryThing member hhornblower
Being a huge fan of the Disney movie, I figured I had to read the book. I quite enjoyed it, but I must say the Ms. Poppins comes off as much more stern in the book, but then Julie Andrews just doesn't have a stern bone in her body.
LibraryThing member tloeffler
Another case of "the book is better than the movie." Sacrilege? Maybe. The book doesn't have Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, the book's Mary Poppins isn't quite so perky (possibly bordering on the stern), Bert isn't a chimney sweep, the parents are much less visible, and there are twin babies
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included. But there was something warmer and more touching about the book, a bit more real-life in spite of the magic. And I liked it better.
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LibraryThing member klordy66
Appropriate for grades K-6 because all children will be captivated by the magical adventures. The story is about the Banks family, who has four young children. When their nanny suddenly quits, an Easterly wind blows in Mary Poppins, a strict yet magical nanny. She takes the children on a variety of
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adventures, and when she feels her work is done, she blows away with the Westerly wind. Addresses proper behaviors, adventure, and magic. Use for read alouds with younger children, like one chapter a day. Older children can independently read and/or use for shared reading.
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LibraryThing member picardyrose
One of my favorites, not least because this is the book I used to teach myself to read at age 6. I read all the others as well. I liked that she was scary and vain. Intensely disliked the movie.
LibraryThing member louparris
The Mary Poppins books were favorites of mine when I was a child. The Mary Poppins of these books in no way resembled the lovely Julie Andrews and I don't think Bert was a bit like Dick Van Dyke.

My old copies are long gone, but I did acquire some new paperback versions of some.
LibraryThing member jcsoblonde
Definitely a favorite for all time, as well as the 3 others in this series! Every child should have a copy! I disliked the movie, and the books are way better. I still read these over and over, even though I am a teenager! They'll always hold a special place in my heart!
LibraryThing member rainbowdarling
My earliest remembrance of watching the Disney adaptation of Mary Poppins is from when I was quite young - young enough that I didn't even understand the story fully. As such, when I found out that not only was there a book about the whimsical and beloved character, but that the book came long
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before the movie, I was somewhat ashamed that I hadn't known and had let myself be ignorant for so long.

When I did finally acquire and read the book, it was quite a shock. While there are elements of the movie that were carried over from the book, it seems like the movie diverged a great deal from the story that P.L. Travers actually wrote. I assume that she was alright with the changes as she and Walt Disney apparently discussed plans for the movie, but that doesn't lessen the shock.

Mary Poppins in text is more vain, more snappish and considerably more strict than I was expecting, while at the same time indulging in the kind of fantasies and fancies that the Banks children (four in all, rather than the two in movie-land) can come up with, while not letting them get too carried away so as to have them thinking these kinds of events will happen all the time.

To be perfectly honest, Mary Poppins is perfectly perplexing. I enjoyed the book, despite its divergences from the beloved movie (or rather, the movie's divergences from it). I would recommend it to anyone who enjoys a good, youthful story with a touch of the unusual mixed in.
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LibraryThing member beckyhill
Adventures abound when a magical nanny appears at the Banks house. The children in this story are easy for any child to associate with, but not very multidimensional. The plot does not follow any set series of events; each chapter could probably be it's own picture book in a set of books. It is set
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in London, making it seem like these things could happen to anyone anywhere. There is no theme in this book because the children don't really learn any universal truth from anything that happens in the story, and Mary Poppins is no clear representation of anything. The style is such that the events could be believable by a young child. Overall, I was not impressed by this book, and the movie is much more exciting.
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LibraryThing member lizzybeans11
I was a fan of only the movie as a child. It was whimsical, Mary was gorgeous and talented, and I wanted to be Jane so badly! The original stories are more dark than the Disney version, Mary's a little tougher, the kids are a little meaner and there's another sibling!
LibraryThing member zaareth
A surprisingly idiosyncratic novel. Completely different from the movie - in some ways much more satisfying, though without the stable narrative drive of the film. The novel is more episodic, and without any explanation of why Mary appears or why the Banks children particularly need her.
LibraryThing member hcurrey
This book would be an engaging read-aloud, perhaps if one were studying Victorian (Edwardian?) England. There are many opportunities for quality connections, predictions, inferences, and also lots of high vocabulary. There are enough scenes similar to the movie that I enjoyed comparing and
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contrasting the two, and getting more detail, as well as entirely new stories.
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LibraryThing member dreplogle
While I love Julie Andrew in the movie version of Mary Poppins, there is nothing like reading the original P.L. Travers version. This Mary is just SO much more. Not to mention there are sequels.
LibraryThing member belindamcdonald
Most beloved Nanny who shows up at the Banks house. She is the nanny for their 4 children. She brings excitement everywhere she goes.

I like this book because of the excitement and enchantment with her. She slides up banisters and pulls things out of her carpetbag.

I would use this in my classroom
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to show how the kids are loved and cared for by their nanny. And I would use it as a unit on magic.
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LibraryThing member nacleonu
I remember seeing the film as a child, it was one of my favorites. What kid doesn't wish for some magical nanny!? :o) When I got older, I picked up this copy of the book. The book is better than the film in my opinion, the pictures your see in your mind as you read leaves so much more room for
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imagination! This is such a great story for both adults and children. Now that my children are getting older, I will definitely be reading this one to them. It may be an "old" story, but to me, it is one to keep alive!
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LibraryThing member b.duggins13
Mary Poppins becomes a nanny at the Banks to take care of their children coming out of the east wind. They go on wild adventures and with her magic she making things that are making believe become real. Mary Poppins made the childrens lives magically.
My personal reaction was you can believe in
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whatever you want to.
Classroom extension that may be good for this book are making of paper umbrellas. Another is going on adventure outside.
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Nēnē Award (Nominee — 1965)
IBBY Honour Book (Illustration — 2012)


Original language


Original publication date



4061860836 / 9784061860834

Local notes

1992 Japanese edition of Mary Poppins with English text and Japanese endnotes.

Other editions

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