Monday, February 10, 2014


I have a confession to make.  I am secretly in love with Mary Poppins.  I think she is the sexiest woman ever to saunter down a printed page.  Please don’t tell my girlfriend.  I’m in a serious relationship and I don’t want it shattered by this revelation.

Fortunately my infatuation hasn’t been going on for long.  It wasn't until recently that I caught my first glimpse of Mary in the Middle Grade section of a local bookstore.  As a child, I never read Mary Poppins.  I considered it to be a girl’s book.  A boy like me who always had a basketball or a football or a frog or a turtle in his hand wouldn’t be caught dead reading a sissy book like that.  What a moron I was.  I had to become an adult who aspired to write children’s books in order to find the motivation to pick up that classic so I could learn from a master. 

And what a masterpiece Mary Poppins is.  I don’t know if humor, fantasy, wonder and innocence have ever been blended together so exquisitely.  And what a creation Mary is, that curt, irritable, irresistible flying nanny.  As a writer, I marvel at how non-stereotypical she is for an MG heroine, rather bossy, rarely sweet with the kids, full of vanity, always admiring herself in the mirror.  She has a sublime sassiness, along with a magic umbrella.

Hopefully the new Tom Hanks movie, ‘Saving Mr. Banks’ will draw attention back to Mary Poppins and the genius who created it, PL Travers.  If you want to learn how to write humorous fantasy then study this book.  Step into the novel, enter the world of Mary Poppins.  But here’s a message for all you guys out there.  Don’t flirt with her.  Mary is mine!  


  1. I ADORED these books in fifth grade. Loved, loved, loved.

  2. I enjoyed the movie too. (Emma Thompson!) But like you, James, I've yet to read Mary Poppins. Sounds like I ought to.

  3. I haven't seen the new movie, but I'm very curious. As a kid, I first read the books and then saw Disney's movie. I have to say I was shocked. The Mary Poppins of the screen is quiet "sugar-y" -- very different than the mysterious woman of the books. Isn't this a big part of the Saving Mr. Banks movie, the portrayal of Mary Poppins? Was Travers happy with Disney's portrayal?

  4. Although I have seen Mary Poppins a million times, I have never read the book! I have to fix this! Thanks for sharing how much you enjoyed the story and inspiring me to pick it up. :)

  5. Great post! I loved these books too. She really was a wonderful protagonist. I haven't seen "Saving Mr. Banks" yet but am excited for it to come out on dvd.


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