- Author P. L. Travers
Considering how many times I’ve seen the film, I was surprised to realise I’d never read the source material. After watching Saving Mr Banks I was keen to right that wrong and snapped up a complete collection of all the Mary Poppins works. This first one sets the groundwork with all the characters you know and love, and many of the scenes.
It’s fascinating to compare and contrast, the film really does stay quite faithful to the books - give or take the odd cartoon penguin and musical number here and there. Where it differs, I think I actually prefer the book. Poppins isn’t the perfect specimen that Disney tried to create, instead she is vain and irritable, snappy but beloved. That’s far more interesting than a character who can do no wrong.
It was fun to relive the scenes in text, such as the tea party on the ceiling, or Andrew the dog communicating with the humans. It was also easy to see why some sequences were missed out - Poppins’ birthday at the zoo seemed like absolute chaos! The dreamy nature of it all, though, with the children (and you) never quite sure if it’s actually happening or not, makes it very, very special.