Our high school drama club put on the musical, Mary Poppins. My friend Joann, whose son, Tim, was in the production, said it was rather different from the Disney movie, albeit containing many of the same songs and somewhat the basic plot outline. So my spouse and I went to the production. We only managed the first act. It was ok, but it was long and we were tired. Tim acquitted himself nicely, as did several other kids from our church. Anyway, I figured I should read the book.
The book is somewhat different from the Disney movie and the play. For one thing, Mary Poppins, herself, isn't a very nice person. She is strict and uncommunicative, and exceedingly vain. But, she does take her charges on some rather interesting adventures. So, the book is a series of chapters, each with a different magical adventure, and none of them much feeding on the ones proceeding. I don't remember any chimney sweeps in the book, Bert is a sidewalk artist, and only appears in one chapter, I think. But, there are other books in the Mary Poppins canon, so perhaps some of the stories in the movie and musical were drawn from later books.
Whatever, it's a fun enough book to read to children at bed time. But it clearly shows some of the differences between child-rearing approaches back in the 1930s as opposed to those today. In olden times, adults were much more remote and stern, or so it would seem from the behavior of Mary Poppins and the adults in the family for whom she worked during the time the East wind blew her up to their front door, and before the West wind blew her away again. While some childrens' books are still fun for adults to read, e.g. Doctor Doolittle
, others not so much. Mary Poppins
is nowhere near the league of those just mentioned eminences. Hell, it's not even up to the level of Polyanna
, The Secret Garden
, and Ann of Green Gables