Movie Wednesday: Mary Poppins

Movie Wednesday

The vintage Disney melmac plate above is part of a set that was released as original movie merchandise that accompanied the film in theaters (GranniesKitchen cc).

Fifty-two years ago, a film arrived in cinemas that would go down in history as one of the greatest of all time.

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Based on the novel of the same name, Mary Poppins tells the story of a mysterious woman who flies by umbrella into the lives of the Banks family. With their father busy at the bank and their mother committed to the Suffragette’s Movement, Jane and Michael need a nanny to look after them, and Mary Poppins is just the woman for the job.

Mary and her friend Bert the chimney sweep take the children on the adventure of a lifetime, into a world of singing penguins and tea parties on the ceiling, magical merry-go-rounds and staircases made of smoke. They discover the fun in tidying up a nursery with magic, journey into chalk pavement drawings, and explore the rooftops of London. But the children’s harassed father doesn’t entirely approve of magic and fun, and when he loses his job at the bank it will take all of Mary’s powers to make everyone happy again.

A true giant among family films, Mary Poppins is a timeless classic that’s so packed full of color and fun that it’s impossible not to enjoy!

Discussion Questions

  • The writer of the original books, P.L. Travers, discussed the film with Disney while it was being made. She wasn’t pleased with the finished product, feeling that the songs and animated sequence were unnecessary. Do you agree with her?
  • What do you think the film’s message is? Maybe strive to be happy? Give to charity? Don’t be afraid of chimney sweeps?
  • Dick van Dyke’s performance as Bert was well received, but his attempt at a Cockney accent was considered poor. Do you think that matters? Should Disney have cast an actor with a real Cockney accent instead?
  • Out of the many songs in the film, which is your favorite and why?
  • Which of the characters do you think changes the most during the film? Give examples of their character arc.
  • Is it true that Mary Poppins helps everyone? Explain.
  • Mary and Bert have a close friendship, but do you think they have stronger feelings for each other than they acknowledge? Do you think the film would be better or worse if they had a romantic relationship?

Practically Perfect Ideas (all optional!)

If you want to make your movie experience even more supercalifragilisticexpialidocious, you might try one or two of these ideas.

Dress in Costume

  • lace gloves
  • hat with a sprig of quirky flowers
  • big purse or carpet bag
  • umbrella
  • “chimney sweep” equipment (a duster could work!)
  • black eye shadow for soot

Serve Special Treats

Create Sidewalk Art

After the movie you might invite kids to create their own sidewalk chalk art like Bert does. And if you’d like to make your own sidewalk paint, here are instructions.

The ArrowLearn language arts naturally with our Mary Poppins Arrow!

The Arrow is a digital product that features copywork and dictation passages from a specific read aloud novel (you purchase or obtain the novels yourself).

Geared toward children ages 8-11, The Arrow is an indispensable tool for parents who want to teach language arts in a natural, literature-bathed context.

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