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Aunt Sass: Christmas Stories

3.70  ·  Rating details ·  236 ratings  ·  56 reviews
In the 1940s, P. L. Travers wrote three stories, which she gave as Christmas gifts to friends. Now, for the first time, they are available to a wider readership. Printed on board, with beautiful illustrations, this will be the perfect gift book for Christmas.
Hardcover, 128 pages
Published November 6th 2014 by Virago Press
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3.70  · 
Rating details
 ·  236 ratings  ·  56 reviews

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Diane S ☔
Dec 12, 2017 rated it liked it
3.5 Mary Poppins, fond memories. Read the book before ever seeing the movie, saw the movie with my children when they were young. Though the book was different from the movie, much darker, I enjoyed both. These threes stories are not really Christmas stories, though they were written by the author as a Christmas gift for family members.

The first story, Aunt Sass was my favorite. An inside look at a the woman who inspired Mary Poppins, possibly that of her own great aunt. What an absolute charact
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2018, na-półce
Było super, dopóki nie trafiłam na "plutonową jaskinię bytu" - serio? Jestem małostkowa i takie duperele mi przeszkadzają.
Lina Slavova
Oct 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“Aunt Sass” is a semi-autobiographical and truly exquisite testimony about Pamela L. Travers’s memorable great aunt Helen Morehead (Aunt Ellie).

“Aunt Sass” was published privately in 1941 in a limited edition of five hundred copies. It was intended as a Christmas gift for friends, although the theme had nothing to do with Christmas.
I wonder what Pamela’s friends’ reactions were. Were they touched? Did they care about her childhood memories? Did they discuss the story with her? Or, did they tos
Dec 14, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
This is a collection of three stories by P. L. Travers, author of Mary Poppins. Although the title mentions "Christmas Stories", this was not a collection of stories about Christmas. They were written as stories that she wrote as Christmas gifts. Christmas was briefly mentioned in a couple of the stories, but that was it.

I didn't think they were outstanding stories, but I did enjoy the second one of the heathen Chinaman named Ah Wong. He was a humorous man. I can't say this is a favorite book,
Aug 19, 2016 rated it really liked it
Virago’s delightful Christmas gift book for 2014 was P.L. Travers’ Aunt Sass: Christmas Stories. In the early 1940s, Travers – most famous, of course, for her charming Mary Poppins books – wrote these stories, which she gave as Christmas gifts to her friends. Each was published in a limited run of 500 copies – ‘Aunt Sass’ in 1941, ‘Ah Wong’ in 1943 and ‘Johnny Delaney’ in 1944 – and they are now available to a wide audience for the very first time.

In Aunt Sass: Christmas Stories, Travers focuses
Dec 23, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: adult-fiction
This book would be of most interest to fans of P.L. Travers and Mary Poppins. The three short stories in the this small-format book are not Christmas-themed. Rather, they are stories Ms. Travers wrote for relatives as gifts at Christmas. They are loosely autobiographical, as she harkens back to people she remembers from her childhood in Australia. The title character, Aunt Sass, is thought to have been a model for Mary Poppins. The other two stories involve hired help her parents had when she wa ...more
Dec 23, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The title of this book, though accurate, might be a little misleading. The three stories in this collection have nothing to do with Christmas except that Travers wrote them as Christmas gifts for friends and family.

The title story is the best of the lot and, according to the foreword, may be the basis for the author's very famous "Mary Poppins." It's a delightful read and is well worth your time.

The other two stories are fun, but didn't captivate me nearly as much.

If you love "Mary Poppins" o
Cynthia Egbert
Dec 22, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own-and-read
I am glad to have read these right now as it reminds me what my struggle is with the new Mary Poppins movie by Disney. They are just not true to what Travers was trying to accomplish with what she wrote and the reason that she wrote. These stories are PURE Travers. They allow for the darkness that children face but need help managing, which is what she was all about. Warning: there are three stories and only the final one has anything to do with Christmas. They are labeled as Christmas because s ...more
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
What a charming book!!! Definitely a fun read, and the Aunt Sass story was my favorite of the 3. :)
Kirk Johnson
Apr 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
Don't be scared off by the 'Christmas Stories' in the title: these are stories written as Christmas presents and not about Christmas or containing the cloying Christmas story spirit. You couldn't go wrong, however, reading these by the fireside and bathing in its antiquated pluck and spirit. I found all three of these stories much more readable than the author's Mary Poppins, which I found too grating to finish, and the third and last story is startlingly insightful, as well as most full of the ...more
Nov 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Lovely autobiographical stories from the author of Mary Poppins. The title refers to the fact that P L Travers would give these stories away as gifts at Christmas, and not to the setting/theme of the stories themselves.

Full review here:
These stories aren't actually Christmas-themed, but rather were originally written by P.L. Travers as Christmas gifts. The narrator was fantastic and the stories had a real sense of voice and of place. I probably should re-listen to the audiobook to appreciate this collection a bit more though. And I really should read Mary Poppins one of these days!
Dec 17, 2016 rated it really liked it
3 autobiographical stories set in the author's native Australia.
Jan 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
Loved the story about Aunt Sass who was the inspiration for Mary Poppins!
Lovely stories!
Dec 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
P.L. Travers is a wonderful storyteller!
Jul 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a lovely collection of (embellished?) personal recollections/narratives written as Christmas gifts to family members of P.L. Travers. Quite a lovely collection!

To be honest, the first time I read Mary Poppins, I wasn't particularly fond of her. Perhaps I wasn't paying close enough attention. The redeeming qualities and genuine love Travers has for the inspiring force behind Poppins, her Aunt Sass, come through loud and clear in the first piece in this collection. It made me wish I could
Jan 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
I loved this little gem of a book but I must say up front that first of all, you must like P.L. Travers and have had to read one or more Mary Poppins books NOT the movie. Secondly - and maybe more importantly, you should have read "Mary Poppins, She Wrote", the biography of P.L.Travers.

"Aunt Sass" includes several short stories Ms. Travis wrote as gifts. Each contains a character or two drawn from her own childhood in Australia. I do not believe I would have enjoyed these gems if I didn't have t
Dec 29, 2018 rated it liked it
The author of "Mary Poppins" fame pens a tribute to three people who helped form her childhood and also had a hand a in raising her as well. Aunt Sass is a composite of her Great Aunt with whom she lived, and became the genesis for her Mary Poppins character. Their Chinese cook gave her many insights into other cultures and much wisdom to her world. Johnny Delaney taught her many things, some that her mother and aunt did not approve of. All are memorable and delightful to meet and ponder.
Sierra Chandler
May 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Not Christmas stories at all but stories about people who shaped a young PL Traver's life. The story about Ah Wong made me cry, Johnny Delaney made me laugh out loud, and Aunt Sass was just good. Excellent time capsules of social and economic attitudes in Victorian Australia to be read with that time period in mind.
Jan 01, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fond remembrance of loved ones that influenced the life of the author. Though the people written about may have seemed hard or mean to the outside world she lets us look through her eyes to see the truly warm and tender hearts beneath the exterior. Fans of P.L. Travers will recognize the characters in her books, from her real life experiences. A quick read if your not interrupted!
Michelle Casey
3 memoir style short stories written by Travers to various members of her extended family as Christmas gifts. Each was a character study/tribute to someone that was influential to her upbringing in her early childhood. It is particularly of note how many attributes these real life people share with Travers' most famous fictional character, Mary Poppins.
Alethea Bothwell
Dec 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
Christmas stories only in the sense that they were written to be Christmas presents. This one has three portraits, Aunt Sass, Ah Wong, and Johnny Delaney, all people important to Travers in her childhood, all wonderful characters. Actually Aunt Sass is the least attractive of the three, but maybe she (Travers) put all the good stuff into Mary Poppins.
Anyway it was delightful.
Selah Pike
These little character studies are fun and interesting, but calling them Christmas stories does them a disservice. I understand that they were written as Christmas gifts, but they are not Christmas stories. My kids were extremely confused.
Feb 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A gem! Not really Christmas stories, so good for any time of the year! A wonderful glimpse into PL Travers’s early life and her inspiration for Mary Poppins. All three stories are unique and tug at the heartstrings in a non-sentimental, but poignant, way. It’s a keeper for me.
Sep 14, 2017 rated it liked it
Tre piccoli racconti, storie di bambini a contatto con adulti stravaganti, ricchi di umanità nascosta dietro atteggiamenti a dir poco burberi ma da cui sono affascinati.
Un mondo ai limiti della realtà.
Dec 17, 2017 rated it it was amazing
First time reading P.L. Travers. Oh my goodness what a treat. I found the first story hilariously funny. The third story I found very sad and touching. But the story of Ah Wong was brilliant. I couldnt get enough.
Aug 30, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Three exquisite portraits in miniature: a redoubtable aunt, a Chinese cook and a hunchbacked jockey.
Travers's memories of characters from her childhood are astringent and loving, funny and bittersweet. A tiny delight.
Dec 26, 2018 rated it really liked it
Fans of Mary Poppins will love Aunt Sass, written as a story for her friends but perhaps based on a relative of PL Travers. The other two stories in this charming little book could be based on employees of Travers' parents, Chinese cook Ah Wong, and Irish Johnny Delaney.
Mar 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Masterfully crafted stories that gave me a glorious glimpse into PL Travers' life and imbued even more meaning into the Mary Poppins series. Absolutely lovely.
Cat Kwiatkowski
Dec 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
This book is fully of great character studies ... whose personalities have not weathered the test of time very well. It is a charming period piece.
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Pamela Lyndon Travers was an Australian novelist, actress and journalist, popularly remembered for her series of children's novels about mystical nanny Mary Poppins.
She was born to bank manager Travers Robert Goff and Margaret Agnes. Her father died when she was seven, and although "epileptic seizure delirium" was given as the cause of death, Travers herself "always believed the underlying cause w