Drew Graham's Reviews > Mary Poppins Comes Back

Mary Poppins Comes Back by P.L. Travers
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Sep 21, 11

Read from September 17 to 20, 2011

This book has more or less the same pros and cons as the first, but I was a little more vexed by them this time because it was a second book's worth of them. In fact, I think my first review might have been colored a little by having read this one too, since I wrote it after reading both. Some of that indignation probably belongs here. I wanted to believe that the sequel would be more pleasant, but not so. In any case, this is another random string of adventures involving Mary Poppins and the Banks household. The children are still charming (including the new addition of Annabel), the parents are still useless and blithering, there are even hints that certain members of the staff are also somehow magical or something, and Mary Poppins is still cross and priggish and mean and glaring. If there were just the slightest hint that she actually cared about these children, I might be able to get on board, but she's just so unpleasant. I don't think the kids need to be coddled by their nanny, but they're practically mistreated. There are hints that Mary Poppins can be a wonderful, charming person (dancing in the stars, upside-down tea parties, though never in relation to the kids), but then they're squashed when she immediately turns on anyone who dares intimate that anything extraordinary could possibly have happened, despite the hints that inevitably turn up on the last page of every chapter. The magic is still kind of fun to read in parts, but there doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to it (like, who IS Mary Poppins? WHAT is she?), though it's not too hard to just go with that element at least and realize that magic doesn't always have to be explained. We see a couple more glimpses of elements used in the movie and stage musical in this book, including the fearsome Miss Andrew, the former nanny of Mr. Banks. Her presence would be a lot more formidable if Mary Poppins provided more of a contrast, but instead she's just another brand of unpleasant, and Mary Poppins only dismisses her (in the way only Mary Poppins can) because Miss Andrew offends her. Oh, horror!!! Never mind the horrible things she says to the kids or Mrs. Banks. Also, I don't really understand why or how, but there are quite a few pretty inexcusable typos I noticed in this one... The illustrations are still fun-the one of Miss Andrews is inspired.

In the end, more of the same, really. The very ending kind of won me back over, enough to at least pick up the third in the series, but I'm not holding my breath for Mary Poppins to pull out any spoonfuls of sugar any time soon.
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09/19/2011 page 144
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