First we saw the movie.
Then we saw the broadway show.
Now we are reading the book.
It's a great way to compare and contrast the differences in how a story is told. They are all very different. The movie is the frame of reference for most of us. Julie Andrews is Mary Poppins and Dick Van Dyke is Bert. Who has gone through life without singing Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious? All thanks to the movie.
The broadway musical is fantastic. I've seen many shows on Broadway, and I can't say that I enjoyed any more than I enjoyed this one. The one drawback is it that is in the giant theater that Disney has purchased (and until this show featured Lion King, which has moved to a different theater). The story is classic, the dancing is amazing, and the music truly puts a smile on your face. If you get to London or to New York City and have the opportunity to see this, whether you are eight or thirty-eight, I recommend it highly. I would predict that it will go on tour to other US cities in the next couple of years as well.
One great thing about this book is that it works well as a read-aloud. P.L. Travers is a fantastic storyteller. The idea that Mary Poppins, complete with umbrella and some type of mysterious magical powers, came to straighten out the Banks children is the same in all three portrayals of the story. Other than that, the book is quite different, so it's a new experience for everyone. Because it was written so long ago, there is a bit of advanced vocabulary, that would be unfamiliar to a six or seven year old, but other than that, I think that this is the type of book that could be read to younger children all the way up to older readers.
Check out other book recommendations for kids and adults and my 2007 reading list at my astore.
This review is linked to Semicolon's Saturday Review of Books.