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Thread: Unit 2 Mary Poppins - information worth discussing with your child/children

  1. #1
    I recently read the book Mary Poppins by P.L Travers and would like to bring to your attention a few things. The movie, in my opinion, is more child friendly than the book. Travers did not like the Disney adaption and would not allow subsequent versions.
    This may be why.
    The Mary Poppins character is described as being haughty. She spends a lot of time starring at herself in any reflection she can find. She is never has a kind word to say. The one time she is not cross, the children beg her to be, b/c they feel something is wrong.
    Three characters that they run into are Mrs. Corry and her adult daughters, Annie and Fannie. Mrs. Corry has a discussion with her daughters in which she calls one cowardly-custard and a
    cry-baby, after she reprimanded her for thinking. She says in her soft, terrible voice, "You only thought! I will thank you not to think. I can do all the thinking that is necessary here!" (pg123)
    Many of the characters are relating to Greek gods or Greek mythology. Travers was introduced to Greek mythology while in Ireland in 1925.
    Here are some of them:
    Hamadryads-Greek mythological beings that live in the trees; or tree spirits
    Maia-is the oldest of Pleiades; goddess of spring
    Electra-a Greek daughter
    Merope-from Greek mythology

    She also weaves the idea of evolution into her story, which may have been one of the reasons why it became so popular during that time period. Both evolution and mythology are combined in chpt 10, Full Moon.
    The children are whisked away to the zoo in the middle of the night by a strange voice. When they arrive they see humans behind the bars of cages with the animals waiting to see the humans being fed.
    pg 168- The children have met the Hamadryad, a snake. Jane says, "He talks as though he were a great lord." "He is. He's the lord of our world-the wisest and most terrible of us all," said the Brown Bear softly and reverently.
    Later all the snakes answer the Hamadryad when he says, "Am I not ___, they reply, 'The lord of the jungle.'" (lord being capitalized).
    They go on to say that Mary Poppins is related to the snake, a distant cousin.
    The snake refers to the children as his own a number of times. (pg174-175)
    When Jane asks how is it that the animals are all together, b/c they normally eat one another, he replies, "it maybe that to eat and to be eaten are the same thing in the end. My wisdom tells me that this is probably so. We are all made of the same stuff, remember we of the Jungle and you of the City. The same substance composes us-the tree overhead, the stone beneath us, the bird, the beast, the star-we are all one, all moving to the same end. Remember that when you no longer remember me, my child."
    She continues this theme in Mary Poppins Comes Back, when baby Naia is added to the family and tells how she came into the world.
    I bring these points to your attention because I had never read the book, and found no mention of these points in the Literature sheets that are used in conjunction with the reading. I hope they will help you in some small way.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
    Coshocton Co, Ohio
    Thank you so much for this! Fore-warned is fore-armed. I think we'll read this one aloud.
    Becky in OH

  3. #3
    President, Lampstand Press
    Join Date
    Apr 2002
    It is true that the Disney version of Mary Poppins is not the same as the original. Thanks for this post; we'll add a warning to the effect that parents may want to pre-read or read aloud this (really, little-known) classic rather than handing it directly to them without a look-see.


    No one can do me a greater kindness in this world than to pray for me.
    --Charles Spurgeon

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