Mary Poppins

Mary Poppins

4.1 77
by P. L. Travers, Mary Shepard

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Mary Poppins is like no other nanny the four Banks children have ever seen. She whirls into their home and "spit-spot", she works her inimitable brand of magic to make even the bland seem extraordinary. An endless source of fascinating adventure, she slides up the banister, produces an endless array of tricks from her empty carpetbag, and ensures their lives…  See more details below


Mary Poppins is like no other nanny the four Banks children have ever seen. She whirls into their home and "spit-spot", she works her inimitable brand of magic to make even the bland seem extraordinary. An endless source of fascinating adventure, she slides up the banister, produces an endless array of tricks from her empty carpetbag, and ensures their lives will never be the same.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"When Mary Poppins is about, her young charges can never tell where the real world merges into make-believe. Neither can the reader, and that is one of the hallmarks of good fantasy."--The New York Times
Children's Literature - Heidi Hauser Green
The East Wind has blown Mary Poppins in through the front gate, and the inhabitants of Number Seventeen Cherry-Tree Lane will never be the same. She is a most unusual nanny who arrives with little more than an empty-seeming handbag and a parrot-headed umbrella, but she creates the most fantastic experiences out of the ordinary. Even ascending the stairs becomes a wonder with Mary Poppins, as she slides up the banister. Jane, Michael, and the twins welcome the magic brought by the mysterious, if abrupt, newcomer. Soon they are meeting an assortment of fantastical animal friends, eating gingerbread from a most unusual bakery, sailing to the ceiling during afternoon tea, and more—much more! Mary Poppins’ no-nonsense attitude quickly grows on the children, until the West Wind carries her away again. Readers coming to the story for the first time with expectations of a nanny full of sweetness and light may be surprised by Mary Poppins’ surprisingly human flaws, including a terse attitude and conceit. Other books in the “Mary Poppins” series include Mary Poppins Comes Back, Mary Poppins Opens the Door, and Mary Poppins in the Park. Reviewer: Heidi Hauser Green; Ages 8 to 12.

Product Details

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication date:
Mary Poppins Series
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.50(h) x 0.80(d)
Age Range:
10 - 12 Years

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Mary Poppins

By Travers, P. L.

Harcourt Children's Books

Copyright ©2006 Travers, P. L.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0152058109

East Wind

If you want to find Cherry-Tree Lane all you have to do is ask the Policeman at the cross-roads. He will push his helmet slightly to one side, scratch his head thoughtfully, and then he will point his huge white-gloved finger and say: "First to your right, second to your left, sharp right again, and you're there. Good-morning."

And sure enough, if you follow his directions exactly, you will be there--right in the middle of Cherry-Tree Lane, where the houses run down one side and the Park runs down the other and the cherry-trees go dancing right down the middle.

If you are looking for Number Seventeen--and it is more than likely that you will be, for this book is all about that particular house--you will very soon find it. To begin with, it is the smallest house in the Lane. And besides that, it is the only one that is rather dilapidated and needs a coat of paint. But Mr. Banks, who owns it, said to Mrs. Banks that she could have either a nice, clean, comfortable house or four children. But not both, for he couldn't afford it.

And after Mrs. Banks had given the matter some consideration she came to the conclusion that she would rather have Jane, who was the eldest, and Michael, who came next, and John and Barbara, who were Twins and came last of all. Soit was settled, and that was how the Banks family came to live at Number Seventeen, with Mrs. Brill to cook for them, and Ellen to lay the tables, and Robertson Ay to cut the lawn and clean the knives and polish the shoes and, as Mr. Banks always said, "to waste his time and my money."

And, of course, besides these there was Katie Nanna, who doesn't really deserve to come into the book at all because, at the time I am speaking of, she had just left Number Seventeen.

"Without by your leave or a word of warning. And what am I to do?" said Mrs. Banks.
"Advertise, my dear," said Mr. Banks, putting on his shoes. "And I wish Robertson Ay would go without a word of warning, for he has again polished one boot and left the other untouched. I shall look very lopsided."

"That," said Mrs. Banks, "is not of the least importance. You haven't told me what I'm to do about Katie Nanna."

"I don't see how you can do anything about her since she has disappeared," replied Mr. Banks, "But if it were me--I mean I--well, I should get somebody to put in the Morning Paper the news that Jane and Michael and John and Barbara Banks (to say nothing of their Mother) require the best possible Nannie at the lowest possible wage and at once. Then I should wait and watch for the Nannies to queue up outside the front gate, and I should get very cross with them for holding up the traffic and making it necessary for me to give the policeman a shilling for putting him to so much trouble. Now I must be off. Whew, it's as cold as the North Pole. Which way is the wind blowing?"

And as he said that, Mr. Banks popped his head out of the window and looked down the Lane to Admiral Boom's house at the corner. This was the grandest house in the Lane, and the Lane was very proud of it because it was built exactly like a ship. There was a flagstaff in the garden, and on the roof was a gilt weathercock shaped like a telescope.

"Ha!" said Mr. Banks, drawing in his head very quickly. "Admiral's telescope says East Wind. I thought as much. There is frost in my bones. I shall wear two overcoats." And he kissed his wife absentmindedly on one side of her nose and waved to the children and went away to the City.

Now, the City was a place where Mr. Banks went every day--except Sundays, of course, and Bank Holidays--and while he was there he sat on a large chair in front of a large desk and made money. All day long he worked, cutting out pennies and shillings and half-crowns and threepenny-bits. And he brought them home with him in his little black bag. Sometimes he would give some to Jane and Michael for their money-boxes, and when he couldn't spare any he would say, "The Bank is broken," and they would know he hadn't made much money that day.

Well, Mr. Banks went off with his black bag, and Mrs. Banks went into the drawing-room and sat there all day long writing letters to the papers and begging them to send some Nannies to her at once as she was waiting; and upstairs in the Nursery, Jane and Michael watched at the window and wondered who would come. They were glad Katie Nanna had gone, for they had never liked her. She was old and fat and smelt of barley-water. Anything, they thought, would be better than Katie Nanna--if not much better.

When the afternoon began to die away behind the Park, Mrs. Brill and Ellen came to give them their supper and to bath the Twins. And after supper Jane and Michael sat at the window watching for Mr. Banks to come home, and listening to the sound of the East Wind blowing through the naked branches of the cherry-trees in the Lane. The trees themselves, turning and bending in the half light, looked as though they had gone mad and were dancing their roots out of the ground.

"There he is!" said Michael, pointing suddenly to a shape that banged heavily against the gate. Jane peered through the gathering darkness.

"That's not Daddy," she said. "It's somebody else."

Then the shape, tossed and bent under the wind, lifted the latch of the gate, and they could see that it belonged to a woman, who was holding her hat on with one hand and carrying a bag in the other. As they watched, Jane and Michael saw a curious thing happen. As soon as the shape was inside the gate the wind seemed to catch her up into the air and fling her at the house. It was as though it had flung her first at the gate, waited for her to open it, and then had lifted and thrown her, bag and all, at the front door. The watching children heard a terrific bang, and as she landed the whole house shook.

"How funny! I've never seen that happen before," said Michael.

"Let's go and see who it is!" said Jane, and taking Michael's arm she drew him away from the window, through the Nursery and out on to the landing. From there they always had a good view of anything that happened in the front hall.

Presently they saw their Mother coming out of the drawing-room with a visitor following her. Jane and Michael could see that the newcomer had shiny black hair--"Rather like a wooden Dutch doll," whispered Jane. And that she was thin, with large feet and hands, and small, rather peering blue eyes.

"You'll find that they are very nice children," Mrs. Banks was saying.

Michael's elbow gave a sharp dig at Jane's ribs.

"And that they give no trouble at all," continued Mrs. Banks uncertainly, as if she herself didn't really believe what she was saying. They heard the visitor sniff as though she didn't either.

"Now, about reference--" Mrs. Banks went on.

"Oh, I make it a rule never to give references," said the other firmly. Mrs. Banks stared.

"But I thought it was usual," she said. "I mean--I understood people always did."

"A very old-fashioned idea, to my mind," Jane and Michael heard the stern voice say. "Very old-fashioned. Quite out of date, as you might say."

Now, if there was one thing Mrs. Banks did not like, it was to be thought old-fashioned. She just couldn't bear it. So she said quickly:

"Very well, then. We won't bother about them. I only asked, of course, in case you--er--required it. The nursery is upstairs--" And she led the way towards the staircase, talking all the time, without stopping once. And because she was doing that Mrs. Banks did not notice what was happening behind her, but Jane and Michael, watching from the top landing, had an excellent view of the extraordinary thing the visitor now did.

Certainly she followed Mrs. Banks upstairs, but not in the usual way. With her large bag in her hands she slid gracefully up the banisters, and arrived at the landing at the same time as Mrs. Banks. Such a thing, Jane and Michael knew, had never been done before. Down, of course, for they had often done it themselves. But up--never! They gazed curiously at the strange new visitor.

Copyright © 1981 by P. L. Travers
Copyright 1934 by P. L. Travers
Copyright renewed 1962 by P. L. Travers

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.


Excerpted from Mary Poppins by Travers, P. L. Copyright ©2006 by Travers, P. L.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Mary Poppins 4.1 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 77 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this book because it was like no other. I watched the movie made by Walt Disney and thought it would be cool to read the book. The book is really good too! Just to correct anyone, Mary Poppins is meant to be 27 years old by P.L. Travers. Yeah, I thought she was old at first too. But the book is about this nanny who comes and changes the Banks childrens' lives. She makes everything fun and lively and is like no other nanny. I'd reccommend this book to everyone as it's really a delightful story.
Cougar_H More than 1 year ago
I would highly recommend the novel Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers. This book had all the elements of a good children's novel. It was humorous, magical, and lets your imagination roam. This book was a series of adventures all coming together to make a wonderful story. I would recommend this book because it is based out of a British time period where many children have not been taught about this culture. Mary Poppins was a strict nanny that the children were not only scared of her but also loved her. She took the children on many magical adventures. Mary Poppins was magical, but only used her magic when the four children behaved. If they did the right thing good magic would happen. If they were naughty, bad magic might happen, or even the magic would not come at all. At the beginning of the story you believe that Mary Poppins does not love the children and is mean to them. By the end of the story, you are able to see her big heart and her loving ways. If you are looking to read a book that is based on the movie, do not read this one. It is way different than the movie. For instance, Mary Poppins is not a cheerful and happy young Nanny that swoops in to save the day. She is proper, demanding, bossy, and strict. Also, there are four children in the book instead two compared to the movie. There are still Michael and Jane with a set of one year old twins. These children try to behave, and Mary Poppins makes sure of it. The book is much more realistic of the British times and I enjoyed reading it more than watching the movie. Even though this book is way different than the movie, it is still a good children's novel as it lets an imagination run wild. There are many magical moments like when Mary gives the children their medicine with a flavor of their choice or the children wandering into paintings. This book is great. Go and buy it for your children today.
Kristi Bogunovich More than 1 year ago
If you were expecting to read about a cherry, rose cheeked nanny who magically appears and takes the Banks children on many adventures, you will sadly be misaken on this novel. It was very clear why Walt Disney selected the 6 chapters that he did to create the movie that many of us have come to love and cherish!
carlosmock More than 1 year ago
This is not Disney's tale, although it is what the movie and play are base on. P. L. Travers (1899 - 1996) was the creator of Mary Poppins and wrote eight Mary Poppins books altogether starting in 1934. Unlike other nannies, Mary Poppins makes the most ordinary events extraordinary. She slides up banisters, pulls all manner of wonders out of her carpet bag, and banishes fear or sadness with a no-nonsense "Spitspot." She leads the children from one magical adventure to another and still gently tuck them in at the end of the day. Although they are children's books, they are fun to read at any age.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Disney sugarcoated Mary Poppins. While the movie is delightful and true to the books in the form of the nursery magic and whimsy, the book is so much more. Mary Poppins is a British Nanny who happens to have not grown up. She is no Peter Pan, but in her charge the Banks children (which in the series comes to number five) have wonderful adventures while on their daily outings with her. Mary forbids them to ever speak of them, quashing their inquistiveness with wet blanket comments. She is a respectable person, thank you, and doesn't acknowledge the child in herself, but somehow, lets it escape and not only teach lessons of sharing, compassion and love, she does it in such a way that the nursery magic never dies. Definately good for read aloud family time. Bake some cookies, make some tea and pull up to the fire to enjoy 'Mary Poppins.'
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book paints a different image of Mary Poppins than the movie of years ago. Mary Poppins is quite sullen. Each chapter has magical moments, many of which are not in the movie. The book is only about 100 pages, but it is very entertaining.
stm2 More than 1 year ago
it was great. there is more detail and there are more characters than in the movie
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book!!!!! A classic book,a touching movie,if you get netflix,you can watch it. I have read it 5 times,and I'm 9! Totally Reccemend!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed the book very much in the sense that the story is one that revolves around the fictional life of the imaginary nanny. I absolutely love the idea of a kind old woman who enjoys the same things that I do, such as: taking bubble baths, baking cookies, dusting the house, and singing lovely melodies in the shower and with my umbrella.
Bookworm1951 More than 1 year ago
An enjoyable classic for readers of all ages. Whether it's you first time reading this story or you're older and just revisiting some of the magic of childhood, it's a great classic. No, it's not the Disney movie version of Mary Poppins. If you are only familiar with the movie and expect the book to follow that story line completely, you may be disappointed. The movie contains certain chapters from the series of Mary Poppins tales. These books deal with good and bad aspects of life and lessons learned.
lovingbooks More than 1 year ago
I don't know why I haven't read this book until now. Mary Poppins has always been my favorite Disney Movie. But the thought of reading the book never occurred to me until after seeing Saving Mr. Banks (fantastic movie!), for some reason. As far as the book goes, I still am debating on whether I actually liked it or not. It was hard to separate the movie version from the book version, after growing up with the movie version. But I kept reminding myself to separate them as I read. In my opinion, it was amazing that Walt Disney was able to come up with the wonderful version of Mary Poppins that he did, from the story in this book. I don't know why P.L. Travers was afraid Walt Disney was going to ruin her Mary Poppins character by putting her on screen. If anything, he made her Mary Poppins character a much more loving and heartwarming character then in the book. I am glad I read the book, and would recommend anyone to read it. But the movie will always be tops in my heart
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It the best story ive read from here in the nook. It is very entertaining. I cant stop reading it.................
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
You should read his book because it is really good and it is not like the movie Saving Mr.Banks even though it is made in Walt Disney even though thy are nothing alike becaus one has the saving Mr.Banks and the other one has saving Mrs.Banks an it does not have the same charaticts like the othersaving Mrs and Mr Banks. So they both are kind of alike.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a really good book.
psycheKK More than 1 year ago
Mary Poppins is a perfect book to read to my son now. He doesn't need illustrations on every page and he can sit still for an entire chapter. Why Mary Poppins is so perfect, though, is because every chapter is a short story. The stories all fit together for form a longer story, but they also can stand alone quite well. My favorite chapter is entitled The Dancing Cow. Those who have seen the movie may not recall a dancing cow. That's because it is not in the movie. And that is one of the reasons why the book is so much better than the movie. Mary Shepard was the daughter of E. H. Shepard, and E. H. Shepard, as every bibliophile knows, illustrated the Winnie-the-Pooh books. Suffice to say, the talent gene was passed on.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this book!
Jim Jaskulsky More than 1 year ago
I love the Mary Poppins series!! They are wonderful stories of the adventures that the Banks children have with their strict, but loving nanny. Mary Poppins! This is a book that should be read by all children or read to them! I am 13 and i have read the series twice! Thank you ever so much, Miss Travers!!
Harry Metcalfe More than 1 year ago
Mary Poppins is a wonderful chapter book for fourth grade readers who loved the movie and have not read the book. When I started reading the book I thought that it won't be as good as the movie and I was wrong. Now this is my 12th time reading the book and I still love it.
Anneliese Peterson More than 1 year ago
I havn't finished this book quite yet, but Mary Poppins is portrayed as rude and grouchy. Maybe she changes further in the book. It is hard for me to get past the fact that she is not as nice and sweet as she is in the movie. So far the book is good with a fast moving plot that does not drag on forever.
SuziIzMe More than 1 year ago
I didn't remember that the movie came from books. What a delight to share these with my granddaughter Kirby Ann!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
The book was enjoyable and fun to read! I like the way it combines fantasy and reality. It was written well. It is good to read in schools.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I love Mary Poppins! My mom reads it to us every morning before school. It's really funny too!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I think this book was really good. I couldn't put it down and I read 85 pages on the first night.
Anonymous 9 months ago
Mine is Laura Michelle Kelly, followed by Julie Andrews and Catherine Walker.
Anonymous 11 months ago
I know a song ohhhh lets go fly a kite up to the highest hight lets go fly a kite ang send it soreing up to the atmest fear up where the are is clear ph lets go fly a kite!!!!!!!! ;) i am pinkie pie.