A handsomely produced gift edition of the 1934 classic, undoubtedly timed to capitalize on the release of the upcoming film sequel, Mary Poppins Returns, in December 2018.
The text, including the later version of the “Bad Tuesday” chapter that Travers rewrote to remove its racial and cultural stereotypes, is laid out in well-leaded lines with spacious margins on smooth, slightly creamy paper. First seen through an oval window cut into the front cover, Mary Poppins is properly cast as a stern, erect figure with (as the narrative has it) “small, rather peering blue eyes” when she is on the job—and the very picture of charming vivacity on her magical “Day Out” with the Match-Man. In Sardá’s stylized scenes other figures are more broadly drawn: Michael as a chubby, rather spoiled-looking brat; Jane as a buttoned-up sort; the rest of the all-white human cast as sharp-featured caricatures. In between the spare array of larger illustrations, sprays of stars and flowers or images of a compass, a purse, or some other iconic item add well-placed notes of color. As they have for generations, readers will be sorry to see Mary Poppins flying off when the wind changes at last but heartened by both her promising “Au revoir” and the fact that the final chapter (like most of the previous ones) ends with an ellipsis….
A delightful excursion into a timelessly magical world, eminently suitable for reading alone or aloud. (Fantasy. 7-10)