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Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Review: MARY POPPINS by P.L. Travers

Mary Poppins
Middle-grade fantasy
Harcourt, 2006 (originally published 1934)
224 pages  $12.95
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Why am I so wild about Mary that I award her the coveted five out of five stars? It may be childhood sentimentality, I admit. My mother used to read Mary Poppins as well as Mary Poppins Comes Back aloud to us in the car on long vacations. Nothing could hold me as mesmerized. I so wanted a nanny who could serve tea on the ceiling or rescue me from the nasty characters inside a Royal Doulton bowl. I was devastated every time Mary left, even knowing she would come back. I loved her because she wasn't sugary sweet (the lovely Julie Andrews notwithstanding); magic was part of who she was and she saw no nonsense in it. So what if extraordinary things happened whenever Mary was around? Children still had to go to bed on time and drink their cod liver oil (though when Mary administered it, it was somehow delicious).

I envisioned that one day I would live on Cherry Tree Lane, where the cherry trees danced down the center of the street with houses running down one side and the park on the other. This book was probably the beginning of my deep and abiding love of all things English.

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