Mary Poppins

Book review by
Regan McMahon, Common Sense Media
Mary Poppins Book Poster Image
Gorgeous art, spare text in picture book version of classic.

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A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this book.

Educational Value

Introduces a beloved character of children's literature, which could  lead to kids' reading the 1934 original novel. 

Positive Messages

Every day with Mary Poppins was an adventure. Be polite to your neighbors. Laughing is good. "We are all made of the same stuff. Bird and beats, star and stone -- we are all one," a bear tells Jane and Michael during their nighttime adventure seeing zoo animals run free. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Mary Poppins is kind but firm. Other adults are fun and magical. Jane and Michael's parents are referred to but not seen. Jane and Michael are polite, do what they're told, curious, and up for adventure, and they love Mary Poppins. Readers see their twin toddler siblings only in one scene, right after Mary Poppins arrives in the Banks home. (In the novel series, the twins start going on adventures in the second book.) 

Violence & Scariness
Language

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this Mary Poppins is a picture book based on P.L. Travers' 1934 classic, adapted by Amy Novesky and beautifully illustrated by Genevieve Godbout. Spare text captures the spit-spot, commanding personality of the beloved, magical nanny and a few of her escapades with the Banks children, including an airborne tea party and seeing zoo animals wander freely at night. It's perfect for giving little kids a taste of what's in store for them in the novel, as well as the live-action film sequel, Mary Poppins Returns

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What's the story?

A magical nanny flies in on the wind and delights the Banks children who become her charges in MARY POPPINS, the picture book. This adaptation covers a few of the novel's characters and magical scenes -- a giggling tea party on the ceiling at Uncle Albert's; seeing bakers Annie, Fannie, and their mom, Mrs. Corry, glue gold paper stars in the sky that then begin to twinkle; and finding zoo animals running free with Mary Poppins at night. And it avoids some of the dated aspects of the original novel.

Is it any good?

Kids who aren't ready to read the classic novel or lack the patience to have it read to them will enjoy this spare, easy-to-grasp picture book that captures the essence of the magical nanny. This accessible Mary Poppins offers a taste of the original's language and attitude, which could create interest in the novel and its sequels, and is perfectly timed in advance of the live-action film sequel, Mary Poppins Returns. 

Genevieve Gobout's beautiful illustrations are loaded with charm and have a welcome retro/classic feel, making this book seem like a keepsake as well as an enchanting nighttime read.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the main character in Mary Poppins. How is she different from other characters who use magic? Is she like any or caregivers you've known? 

  • Have you seen the animated Disney film version of Mary Poppins? How does this picture book compare? Will you see Marry Poppins Returns? Why do you think Disney decided to made another live action Mary Poppins movie? 

Book details

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For kids who love magic and kids' classics

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