For all her offended sniffs and humphs, Mary Poppins is likely the most exciting nanny England--and the world--has ever seen. Young Jane and Michael Banks have no idea what's in store for them when Mary Poppins blows in on the east wind one autumn evening. Soon, though, the children are having tea on the ceiling, flying around the world in a minute (visiting polar bears and hyacinth macaws on the way), and secretly watching as their unusual nanny pastes gold paper stars to the sky. Mary's stern and haughty exterior belies the delightful nonsense she harbors; her charges, as well as her literary fans, respect and adore her.
Grownups who have forgotten Mary Poppins's true charms will be tickled pink to rediscover this uniquely unsentimental fantasy. Younger readers will walk into Mary's world without batting an eye--of course the animals in the zoo exchange places with people on the night of the full moon. Certainly a falling star landing on a cow's horn will make her dance ceaselessly. Why wouldn't one be able to enter into a chalk picture? The only disappointing aspect of this classic is that it doesn't go on forever! (Ages 9 to 12) --Emilie Coulter
From School Library Journal
Gr 3–6—The tale that has captured the imaginations of generations of children and spawned a beloved and classic motion picture starring Julie Andrews as well as a dazzling Broadway musical, begins with the eponymous nanny blowing in to Number Seventeen to care for the Banks children just in the nick of time. From a tea party on the ceiling to riding on peppermint horses, rather unusual and surprising adventures await Jane and Michael whenever Mary Poppins pops in. This 80th anniversary edition includes the four original books, Mary Poppins (originally published 1934), Mary Poppins Comes Back (originally published 1935), Mary Poppins Opens the Door (original published 1943), and Mary Poppins in the Park (originally published 1952) grouped into one convenient volume. Beyond the handsome package—a rich brick red cover accented with black and gold spot-gloss decoration—the deeper gems of this edition are the extras. There's a foreword by Gregory Maguire, author of Wicked (HarperCollins, 1995) and Egg & Spoon (Candlewick, 2014), that relates the story of his nerve-wracking, but ultimately illuminating, meeting with the great P.L. Travers when she was in her nineties. Maguire accurately captures the difference between the silver screen versions and the original tales: "The books…show glimmers of a far more mysterious and even dangerous world. For thirty years before the nanny began to sing on the screen, she stalked the pages of these books with ferocity, vanity, and power." At the end there's a brief excerpt from a talk Travers gave at the Unversity of Connecticut in 1974 entitled "On Not Writing for Children." Librarians and students of children's literature would do well to think on Traver's reluctance to call herself a "children's book author," for, as she states, "every book is a message, and if children happen to receive and like it, they will appropriate it to themselves no matter what the author may say nor what label he gives himself." A must-have for diehard fans and, though a tad bulky for little hands, nevertheless an excellent addition to home, library, and school collections.
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