Mary Poppins in the Park / PL Travers : 3 of 5
This book was one of my birthday gifts from Matt & Kumiko (thanks, Amazon Wish List!), and I really enjoyed reading these additional short Mary Poppins stories (which take place sometime during Mary's previous visits with the Banks children, as explained by the author). The title refers to the fact that all of these tales take place in the park just across Cherry Tree Lane, where Mary takes Jane & Michael (and the other babies who don't appear in the Disney movie) for outings, and all kinds of bizarre wonderful things take place. My favorite story is Lucky Thursday, which focuses on Michael, who's having a bad day and makes some wishes before bedtime. The next day everything goes his way, and in the park he's suddenly carried away to a land full of talking cats! I also really liked the huge Halloween party where everyone's shadow breaks free to dance on their own in the Halloween moonlight, and the reason they're gathering is to celebrate Mary's birthday on November 1st (bet you didn't know that bit of trivia!). Many of the characters that have been introduced in Travers' other books (as well as in the movie) appear from time to time, and it's nice to see Admiral Boom and Burt show up. The Mary Poppins books are a great way to think about and expand my enjoyment of one of my favorite Disney movies of all time, but they definitely stand on their own as wonderful stories full of childhood joy!