Sunday, July 20, 2014

Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane by P. L. Travers

Mary Poppins in Cherry Tree Lane by P. L. Travers, illustrated by Mary Shepard. Hardcover book with pictorial boards published by Delacorte Press 1982, 91 pages with some black and white illustrations.

Like many children of the 1960s, I was subjected to a viewing of Walt's shiny adaption of P.L. Travers fantastical story about a nanny with magical and mischievous powers. I do remember Dick Van Dyke singing and dancing and Julie Andrews chortling through a number of tunes, but what I mostly remember was the truly amazing combination of animation and real life. This had a massive impact on me as a young boy. Up to that point of my brief existence I had understood animation (it wasn't real) and I had understood real (it was real) and then Mary Poppins comes along and stuffs the whole thing up leaving a very young me to deal with this existential crisis.

This book was published many years after Disney's eye popping,  philosophical romp through bourgeois, penguin dancing, Edwardian London. I wasn't aware that Travers had continued writing and publishing as late as this title which was the penultimate one in the series. It was only when finding this book and doing a bit of interwebs research that I learned the truth. Unlike Harry Potter and a lot like The Wizard of Oz, Disney only made the one film despite there being material for many more. I'm looking at this as being a good thing. One childhood existential crisis is enough. Eight would have been a catastrophe.

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