June 27, 2014

Mary Poppins was not a particularly nice lady

I hate to spoil your image of Mary Poppins but...well, I'm going to spoil your image of Mary Poppins. The version that P.L. Travers created was very different from the one Disney dreamed up. She was a vain woman who seemed to be more concerned with her own appearance than with how she spoke to the children under her care. I found it almost unsettling how biting and cruel she was toward Jane and Michael (the twins John and Barbara featured in one chapter and were incidental to the rest of the story). However, just as in the movie version the children were in awe of her and loved her very much (her feelings about them were not quite as clear). I do think this is worth a read for anyone who grew up watching the Disney classic especially because it gives new dimensions to Mary Poppins AND details new adventures.

Eaarth: Making a life on a tough new planet by Bill McKibben details the consequences of dragging our feet on the issue of global warming. Changes are already occurring and as a result our once familiar planet has evolved into something entirely different: Eaarth. Now that this is our new reality, McKibben says that the only course of action is to alter our society to confront it head-on. Environmental studies and sustainability are both topics I find fascinating so I'm sure this is going to be a page turner.

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