“Mary Poppins” – Story by P.L. Travers; illustrated by Genevieve Godbout
With the December, 2018 arrival of the movie, “Mary Poppins Returns” starring Emily Blount and other luminaries, and for those very young readers that have not yet been introduced to the woman who is “practically perfect in every way,” here is the perfect lead in to her chapter books as they grow into them.
The wonderful 1964 movie, Mary Poppins, starring Julie Andrews who received an Academy Award for her performance, first introduced movie audiences to the beloved nanny who visits #17 Cherry Tree Lane and sets things aright in a trice.
It was a decades long endeavor by Walt Disney, whose children were enchanted by P.L. Travers’ Mary Poppins, to bring her faithfully to the big screen. He succeeded in convincing the foot-dragging author that he could do justice to her beloved nanny.
And here, P.L. Travers’ 1934 novel has been put into a lovely picture book format and it’s a perfect introduction to the nanny whose uncanny ability to make life topsy- turvy, yet makes perfect sense to her, will be the encouragement to your eager young readers for her chapter books: Mary Poppins, Mary Poppins Comes Back, Mary Poppins Opens the Door and Mary Poppins in the Park.
Here, blowing in on an East Wind, is that most magical of nannies whose amazing carpet bag is still filled to the brim with all she needs to make herself to home, including:
“a starched apron promptly ties about her waist, a box of lozenges, a bottle of scent, a set of dominoes, two bathing caps, seven flannel night gowns, four flannel ones, a large bar of soap, a pair of boots, a postcard album, a toothbrush and a pack of hairpins.”
There are the iconic tea parties with Uncle Albert on the ceiling, and the foray to the charming Miss Fannie, Miss Annie and their mum, Mrs. Corry’s bake shop. A baker’s dozen of gingerbread cakes, thirteen in all, adorned with gilt paper stars, are consumed later.
But, it wouldn’t be an ordinary end to the day unless the trio of ladies from the bake shop, ladders in tow, paint the inky blue sky with glue to which Mary Poppins affixes those gold paper stars that then commence to “twinkle furiously,” as Michael and Jane wonder:
“Are the stars gold paper or is the gold paper stars? ”
If your young readers wonder, as do Michael and Jane, just what does happen in the zoo at night? Well folks, they are all let free! And as a voice belonging to a bear wearing a coat with brass buttons intones, as they are each handed a ticket for admission:
“We are all made of the same stuff. Bird and beast, star and stone-we are all one.”
Genevieve Godbout, a children’s book and fashion illustrator, has provided a wonderful entry for the youngest of readers into the land of Mary Poppins. You can be assured that after this read, it will whet their reading appetite, as they advance for the chapter book versions of:
Mary Poppins Comes Back
Mary Poppins Opens the Door
Mary Poppins in the Park
I recently purchased a volume that encompasses all four books with the original illustrations by Mary Shepard. Can’t wait to delve into the magical world of the nanny who is “practically perfect in every way.”
Please let your youngest of readers wander with her in the sky, down Cherry Tree Lane, at the zoo of a warm, balmy summer evening, or on the ceiling at a tea party.
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