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Mary Poppins (Odyssey Classics) Paperback – September 15, 1997

4.4 out of 5 stars 718 customer reviews
Book 1 of 6 in the Mary Poppins Series

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

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. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 5 - 7
  • Series: Odyssey Classics
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Sandpiper; 1 edition (September 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0152017178
  • ISBN-13: 978-0152017170
  • Product Dimensions: 5.1 x 0.6 x 7.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (718 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #282,874 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Reading the books that I loved as a child was wonderful - until I realized that it had been edited to make it more socially acceptable. The chapter called "Bad Tuesday" involves a magical compass that transports the characters all over the world. The original work used the author's vision of what the people would be like, and had used some pretty offensive stereotypes of the time. But the altered version completely changed the story, not only using animals instead of people, but changing even the storyline. Would have liked to be able to see the original work also, or at least been warned that the newer version was altered to that extent.
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Format: Hardcover
When adults forget their childhood pals, daydreamers make foolish wishes and the wind blows unusually strong, it always leads to something quite out of the ordinary -- that is, whenever Mary Poppins is around.
In this, the final Mary Poppins book that P.L. Travers gave us before her death at age 90, we share the five Banks' childrens' adventures. Besides Jane and Michael, who were in the classic Disney movie, there are also toddler twins John and Barbara and infant Annabel.
A big departure from the Disney flick is Mary Poppins herself. Here, she is not the smiling, syrupy sweet nanny that young Julie Andrews portrayed; rather, the book's title character is strict, stern, often sarcastic and very taken with herself. Her strong personality makes her a unique storybook character and readers will find this Mary Poppins more of an enigma. Which, frankly, makes for better stories.
Everything in this book is G-rated but not preachy. Travers gives her young readers many fascinating, but never frightening, fantasy situations. Or are they real? Jane and Michael can never quite tell. The lines between what's real and what's not always blur around Mary Poppins.
This book is a series of unrelated chapters, self-contained stories, all dealing with the same main characters. Nothing is ever as it seems in the nursery of No. 17 Cherry Tree Lane -- or in the nearby park.
On a hot summer's day, Mary Poppins tells the children a tale of a hobo who was an angel in disguise, shedding his rags and growing wings as he flies away.
In another chapter, Michael, upset that he's caught a cold, finds that some days when everything seems to be going all right, it's actually going all wrong. He's taught a valuable lesson on a planet full of cats.
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Format: Hardcover
The entire Mary Poppins book series by the wonderful P.L. Travers is fantastic. I'm so glad to see they have finally arrived in hardcover with the original covers. No, this is not the sugary Disney movie--but this, the original story, will take your breath away with its magic and wonder. Give it a try. I think if you take these stories for what they are you will appreciate the wit and the adventure.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have to admit that I cannot completely explain the attraction of Pamela Travers' tale of Mary Poppins, nanny extraordinaire. But 48 years later, and Julie Andrews notwithstanding, I still found myself nodding and smiling as I read the book. Strange things just happen around Mary. You can wander into paintings and travel the world with a magic compass. Laughter makes you fly and the animals in the zoo will celebrate your birthday if you're nice. All at Mary Poppins' whimsy.
Growing up in the U.S., with no concept of what a nanny was, I still loved her right away. What is odd about this is that she actually isn't all that likable. She is quite vain and very, very bossy. She says 'no' a lot, and rarely stops to explain herself or reveal her secrets. Yet somehow you know that she will never let you down and she always will do what she says. Young Jane and Michael (and the even younger twins) couldn't ask for a better guide and protector. In a family where the father is most often at work 'in the city' and the mother is loving but a trifle inept, Mary is the glue that keeps things working together.
The book is actually a series of short tales of a fantastical nature. Sometimes the tale contains the requisite grain of wisdom and sometimes it is just silly fun. Perhaps the willingness to be light hearted is what charms young listeners. In addition to those already mentioned, there is the tale of the dancing cow, and a touching explanation of why we cannot talk to birds. Even though the book is quite readable for an 8 or nine year old, it is really best for being read to children. The adventures should be appealing to almost any child and the pen and ink sketches are a delight to look at.
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Format: Hardcover
Everything for kids to cook from Apple Brown Betty to Zodiac Cake. In between you'll find Beff Patties, Bread and Butter Pudding, Cherry Pie, Date Bread, Dressing for Salads, Easter Cake, Fruit Salad, Gingerbread Stars, Honey and Bananas, Irish Stew, Jam Tarts, Kale (Cabbage) Kings Cake, Lanchashire Hot Pot, Lemon Souffle, Meringues, Nut Loaf, Oatmeal Cookies, Potatoes, Queen of Puddings, Roast Chicken and Bread Sauce, Shepherd's Pie, Trout, Upside Down Cake, Very Plain Cake, Walnut Cake, XXX Candy Kisses, and Yorkshire Pudding. A cute little cookbook for kids ten to fourteen or even younger ones who love Mary Poppins and things British.
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