Mary Poppins (Anglais) Broché – 5 mai 2015
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I grew up in the 60’s with the original Walt Disney’s Mary Poppins film. I remember singing “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” and having Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious for extra credit on a spelling test in the first grade. Disney’s Mary Poppins was a big hit within the elementary crowd back then. But I never knew there was a series of books based on Mary. All I had ever seen was Disney produced books and miscellaneous products based on the Disney film.
Last week my family watched the new movie "Saving Mr. Banks". The movie indicates that Disney changed the storyline quite a bit, and I wondered how Travers had originally written her. It also opened up lots of questions about P.L. Travers and her real life. So, of course we searched the internet to read more of her bio and found articles stating that the Saving Banks movie was also a bit “Disney-fied”. Traver’s version of the events were quite different. If you are interested you can read her bio in Mary Poppins, She Wrote" The Life of P. L. Travers by Valerie Lawson here at Amazon.
We also learned that Travers had written a series of six novels based on the Mary Poppins character ( all here at Amazon), plus this book - Mary Poppins in the Kitchen: A Cookery Book with a Story – and an additional book titled, Mary Poppins A to Z. I have three grandchildren, and more in production. So I just can't have too much Mary Poppins to read here at Granny's house.
I ordered the six book series, the A to Z book and this book of Mary in the Kitchen, which was the first one to be delivered.
My daughter (in her 30;s) and my granddaughter (4) and I all love Mary Poppins. So immediately after delivery we settled down to read the first chapter. We couldn't stop there. My granddaughter was begging for more, so we also read the 2nd chapter, before insisting (as Mary would) that it was time for naps. This book is pure Mary - with no Disney-fication, and she shines with all of her typical wit and wisdom. There is at least one full page illustration in each chapter. The illustrations have an "old world" feel to them, but there is so much activity in them that it catches our imagination. Everybody is busy doing something in the picture relating to the story you are reading. My granddaughter loved picking out which of the children were Jane and Michael in each picture. And Mary is unmistakable.
I've had a hard time not reading ahead, but I promised to wait until they come back this week so we can continue our adventure with Mary Poppins in the Kitchen together. I confess that I did skip to the back of the book and read some of the recipes. They look delicious and easy enough for young beginning cooks- with some help from Mom or Granny. I can’t wait to get in the kitchen with my granddaughter and try out Mary’s recipes. I think we'll start with her oatmeal cookies and gingerbread stars.
I still love Walt’s Mary Poppins, but it is so delightful to meet the “real” Mary, Jane and Michael as they leap from each page. No wonder these books thrilled a generation of youngsters and their parents when they were first published. No wonder they inspired Disney to put her on the big screen. If you love Mary Poppins, you'll love this book of cooking adventures with Mary, the children and the whole neighborhood around Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane.
This book is...different. There isn't exactly a plot to the book. Rather, it's a series of adventures that Mary Poppins and the children have. It can be a bit disconcerting but, after a bit, one gets used to it and I rather like it.
Mary Poppins is a fascinating character. She seems to know people (and creatures) from all eras and all worlds. She seems immortal and, yet, there is reference to her birth. The reader never quite finds out who (or what) Mary Poppins is. In addition, there is something a bit sinister about her. There seems to be no limit to her powers and one can imagine that she could seriously hurt someone, if she wanted to. Animals and humans alike seem to honor and be awed by her. Mary Poppins intimidates people and is extremely vain. She's very strict and, while one might suppose she has a softer side, she very seldom shows it. However, I don't see why the children like her. I can understand that they like the fun she brings, but they seem genuinely fond of her and there aren't many instances where she shows her fondness of them. Children tend not to love people who never or almost never show them love, so I don't feel it's plausible for the children to be so completely devoted to Mary Poppins. Perhaps if there had been one or two instances where Mary Poppins had hugged them, told them she cared for them, etc., that aspect would have been more believable.
I remember reading this a child but it was after I had seen the movie and so I also remember preferring the Disney version. When I was 7 or so I found the book a little scary- things like humans in the zoo, or a great leader who is a cobra. As an adult I can appreciate the themes as imaginative and thought provoking but I understand way the author pronounced, "...what a picture- the children weeping in the world, and I responsible. Could I ever have intended to write for such a child?" (Source article: "i Never Wrote for Children" by P.L. Travers.)