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Mary Poppins in the Park

Mary Poppins in the Park


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Who else but Mary Poppins can lead the Banks children on such extraordinary adventures? Together they all meet the Goosegirl and the Swineherd, argue with talking cats on a distant planet, make the acquaintance of the folks who live under dandelions, and celebrate a birthday by dancing with their own shadows. And that’s just for starters!

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780544513846
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 05/05/2015
Series: Mary Poppins Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 272
Sales rank: 286,813
Product dimensions: 5.00(w) x 7.50(h) x 1.00(d)
Age Range: 10 - 12 Years

About the Author

P. L. Travers (1899–1996) was a drama critic, travel essayist, reviewer, lecturer, and the creator of Mary Poppins, as well as several other books for adults and children.

Mary Shepard (1910–2000) was the daughter of Ernest Shepard, illustrator of the Winnie the Pooh books and The Wind in theWillows. Her illustration work on Mary Poppins books spanned fifty years.

Read an Excerpt

Every Goose a ­Swan

The summer day was hot and still. The cherry­-­trees that bordered the Lane could feel their cherries ripening—the green slowly turning to yellow and the yellow blushing ­red.

The houses dozed in the dusty gardens with their shutters over their eyes. “Do not disturb us!” they seemed to say. “We rest in the ­afternoon.”

And the starlings hid themselves in the chimneys with their heads under their ­wings.

Over the Park lay a cloud of sunlight as thick and as golden as syrup. No wind stirred the heavy leaves. The flowers stood up, very still and shiny, as though they were made of ­metal.

Down by the Lake the benches were empty. The people who usually sat there had gone home out of the heat. Neleus, the little marble statue, looked down at the placid water. No goldfish flirted a scarlet tail. They were all sitting under the lily­-­leaves—using them as ­umbrellas.

The Lawns spread out like a green carpet, motionless in the sunlight. Except for a single, rhythmic movement, you might have thought that the whole Park was only a painted picture. To and fro, by the big magnolia, the Park Keeper was spearing up rubbish and putting it into a litter­-­basket.

He stopped his work and looked up as two dogs trotted ­by.
They had come from Cherry-Tree Lane, he knew, for Miss Lark was calling from behind her ­shutters.

“Andrew! Willoughby! Please come back! Don’t go swimming in that dirty Lake! I’ll make you some Iced ­Tea!”

Andrew and Willoughby looked at each other, winked, and trotted on. But as they passed the big magnolia, they started and pulled up sharply. Down they flopped on the grass, panting—with their pink tongues lolling ­out.

Mary Poppins, neat and prim in her blue skirt and a new hat trimmed with a crimson tulip, looked at them over her knitting. She was sitting bolt upright against the tree, with a plaid rug spread on the lawn around her. Her hand-bag sat tidily by her side. And above her, from a flowering branch, the parrot umbrella ­dangled.

She glanced at the two thumping tails and gave a little ­sniff.

“Put in your tongues and sit up straight! You are not a pair of ­wolves.”

The two dogs sprang at once to attention. And Jane, lying on the lawn, could see they were doing their very best to put their tongues in their ­cheeks.

“And remember, if you’re going swimming,” Mary Poppins continued, “to shake yourselves when you come out. Don’t come sprinkling us!”

Andrew and Willoughby looked ­reproachful.

“As though, Mary Poppins,” they seemed to say, “we would dream of such a ­thing!”

“All right, then. Be off with you!” And they sped away like shots from a ­gun.

“Come back!” Miss Lark cried ­anxiously.

But nobody took any ­notice.

“Why can’t I swim in the Park Lake?” asked Michael in a smothered voice. He was lying face downwards in the grass watching a family of ­ants.

“You’re not a dog!” Mary Poppins reminded ­him.

“I know, Mary Poppins. But if I were—” Was she smiling or not?—he couldn’t be sure, with his nose pressed into the ­earth.

“Well—what would you do?” she enquired, with a ­sniff.

He wanted to say that if he were a dog he would do just as he liked—swim or not, as the mood took him, without asking leave of anyone. But what if her face was looking fierce! Silence was best, he ­decided.

“Nothing!” he said in a meek voice. “It’s too hot to argue, Mary ­Poppins!”

“Out of nothing comes nothing!” She tossed her head in its tulip hat. “And I’m not arguing, I’m talking!” She was having the last word, as ­usual.

The sunlight caught her knitting­-­needles as it shone through the broad magnolia leaves on the little group below. John and Barbara, leaning their heads on each other’s shoulders, were dozing and waking, waking and dozing. Annabel was fast asleep in Mary Poppins’ shadow. Light and darkness dappled them all and splotched the face of the Park Keeper as he dived at a piece of ­newspaper.

“All litter to be placed in the baskets! Obey the rules!” he said ­sternly.

Mary Poppins looked him up and down. Her glance would have withered an oak­-­tree.

“That’s not my litter,” she ­retorted.

“Oh?” he said ­disbelievingly.

“No!” she replied, with a virtuous ­snort.

“Well, someone must ’ave put it there. It doesn’t grow—like ­roses!”

He pushed his cap to the back of his head and mopped behind his ears. What with the heat, and her tone of voice, he was feeling quite ­depressed.

“’Ot weather we’re ’avin’!” he remarked, eyeing her nervously. He looked like an eager, lonely ­dog.

“That’s what we expect in the middle of summer!” Her knitting­-­needles ­clicked.

The Park Keeper sighed and tried ­again.

“I see you brought yer parrot!” he said, glancing up at the black silk shape that hung among the ­leaves.

“You mean my parrot­-­headed umbrella,” she haughtily corrected ­him.

He gave a little anxious laugh. “You don’t think it’s goin’ to rain, do you? With all this sun ­about?”

“I don’t think, I know,” she told him calmly. “And if I,” she went on, “were a Park Keeper, I wouldn’t be wasting half the day like some people I could mention! There’s a piece of orange peel over there—why don’t you pick it ­up?”

She pointed with her knitting­-­needle and kept it pointed accusingly while he speared up the offending litter and tossed it into a ­basket.

“If she was me,” he said to himself, “there’d be no Park at all. Only a nice tidy desert!” He fanned his face with his ­cap.

“And anyway,” he said aloud, “it’s no fault of mine I’m a Park Keeper. I should ’ave been a Nexplorer by rights, away in foreign parts. If I’d ’ad me way I wouldn’t be ’ere. I’d be sittin’ on a piece of ice along with a Polar ­Bear!”

He sighed and leaned upon his stick, falling into a ­daydream.

“Humph!” said Mary Poppins loudly. And a ­startled dove in the tree above her ruffled its wing in ­surprise.

A feather came slowly drifting down. Jane stretched out her hand and caught ­it.

“How deliciously it tickles!” she murmured, running the grey edge over her nose. Then she tucked the feather above her brow and bound her ribbon round ­it.

“I’m the daughter of an Indian Chief. Minnehaha, Laughing Water, gliding along the ­river.”

“Oh, no, you’re not,” contradicted Michael. “You’re Jane Caroline ­Banks.”

“That’s only my outside,” she insisted. “Inside I’m somebody quite different. It’s a very funny ­feeling.”

“You should have eaten a bigger lunch. Then you wouldn’t have funny feelings. And Daddy’s not an Indian Chief, so you can’t be ­Minnehaha!”

He gave a sudden start as he spoke and peered more closely into the ­grass.

“There he goes!” he shouted wildly, wriggling forward on his stomach and thumping with his ­toes.

“I’ll thank you, Michael,” said Mary Poppins, “to stop kicking my shins. What are you—a Performing ­Horse?”

“Not a horse, a hunter, Mary Poppins! I’m tracking in the ­jungle!”

“Jungles!” scoffed the Park Keeper. “My vote is for snowy ­wastes!”

“If you’re not careful, Michael Banks, you’ll be tracking home to bed. I never knew such a silly pair. And you’re the third,” snapped Mary Poppins, eyeing the Park Keeper. “Always wanting to be something else instead of what you are. If it’s not Miss Minnie­-­what’s­-­her­-­name, it’s this or that or the other. You’re as bad as the Goose­-­girl and the ­Swineherd!”

“But it isn’t geese or swine I’m after. It’s a lion, Mary Poppins. He may be only an ant on the outside but inside—ah, at last, I’ve got him!—inside he’s a man­-­eater!”

Michael rolled over, red in the face, holding something small and black between his finger and ­thumb.

“Jane,” he began in an eager voice. But the sentence was never finished. For Jane was making signs to him, and as he turned to Mary Poppins he understood their ­meaning.

Her knitting had fallen on to the rug and her hands lay folded in her lap. She was looking at something far away, beyond the Lane, beyond the Park, perhaps beyond the ­horizon.

Carefully, so as not to disturb her, the children crept to her side. The Park Keeper plumped himself down on the rug and stared at her, goggle­-­eyed.

“Yes, Mary Poppins?” prompted Jane. “The Goose­-­girl—tell us about ­her!”

Michael pressed against her skirt and waited expectantly. He could feel her legs, bony and strong, beneath the cool blue ­linen.

From under the shadow of her hat she glanced at them for a short moment, and looked away ­again.

“Well, there she sat—” she began gravely, speaking in the soft accents that were so unlike her usual ­voice.

“There she sat, day after day, amid her flock of geese, braiding her hair and unbraiding it for lack of something to o. Sometimes she would pick a fern and wave it before her like a fan, the way the Lord Chancellor’s wife might do, or even the Queen, ­maybe.

Copyright 1952 by P. L. ­Travers
Copyright renewed 1980 by P. L. ­Travers

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the ­publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address: Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive, Orlando, Florida 32887­-­6777.

Table of Contents

Every Goose a ­Swan
The Faithful ­Friends
Lucky ­Thursday
The Children in the ­Story
The Park in the ­Park

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