The second in the series, ‘Mary Poppins Comes Back’ weaves the special magic created by the brilliantly inventive Australian female writer P.L.Travers.
Although first published in the mid 1930’s, it’s stood the test of time, partly due to its language use, partly due to its timeless appeal to our imagination, and partly due to the cinematic and stage revival of Mary Poppins as an iconic figure.
As in other volumes, Mary Poppins arrives (and leaves) in magical circumstances; and, as always, the intervening period is full of magical happenings denied as reality by Mary Poppins herself.
My favourite story from this book concerns the unwanted arrival of Mister Banks’ childhood Governess, Miss Euphemia Andrew, who proves herself to be every bit the ‘Holy Terror’ whom he had earlier described. This provides Mary Poppins with an ideal opportunity to display not only her abundance of bravery, but also her kindness and sense of decency by releasing the lark that the formidable, terrifying Miss Andrew had herself trapped and caged for the preceding two years. Justice is served when Miss Andrew finds herself captured in the tiny cage, and carried off by the lark. On her return, she is forced to humble herself to Mary Poppins, and leaves the family to rejoice at her exit.
Despite her sternness and conceit, Mary Poppins remains an endearing character, a ‘treasure’, to the Banks’ family, and the household always sorely laments her departure.
Some people seem to think that the first volume, ‘Mary Poppins’, is superior: nevertheless ‘Mary Poppins Comes Back’ is, and remains, a remarkable children’s classic.