Saturday, November 13, 2010

Book Review: Mary Poppins

I did NOT like this book. I have a kosher book list that I refer to when selecting secular literature, and this was listed as being OK, with a note made about the strange story and rich language. Yes, it has rich language. But the story is WEIRD, and just not pleasant. Here are some of the things that bothered me:

•Mary Poppins was extremely vain and in nearly every chapter, she spends quite a bit of time admiring her figure and her clothes in mirrors and windows. She is also frequently rude, selfish, and very self-absorbed.

•Not a single character went through any kind of transformation. They were exactly the same before Mary Poppins arrived as they were when she left. Mary Poppins did not seem affected in the least by the other human beings around her and seemed to make no effort at connecting with them.

•I found one scene where Mary Poppins took them to the zoo in the middle of the night particularly disturbing. The humans were in cages and the animals were walking about. Mary referred to the snakes as "Lord" and said she was a distant cousin and related to them. Bleah.

•The first chapter is about her arrival at the Banks' house, where she refuses to give references (they're not "in fashion") and Mrs. Banks goes with it. The second chapter is her day off with her magical friend, Bert. Shouldn't the second chapter have included GETTING TO KNOW THE CHILDREN???????

I think I'd like to forget I ever read this book, and just remember Julie Andrews as Mary Poppins in the 1960s Disney version. A much more palatable - and human - character.

Our next readaloud? Ruth Benjamin's The Lost Treasure of Chelton. We love mysteries!

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