Do they write children's books like this anymore? Mary Poppins is sharp, stern, and vain. She is the anti-Julie Andrews. I liked the movie fine (before I read the book), but the real Mary Poppins makes the movie character look insipid and saccharine. (When did everything for children become so sweet anyway?) It's true, Mary is magic, but it's no holiday when she's around. She's all business, as many people who deal with children professionally have to be. Despite all this, the children (and the reader) love her anyway. An interesting change from the movie is that Mr. Banks is no villain. He's simply a father who goes to work everyday. The children and Mary are the protagonists, but Mary is so unpredictable, and can be so cross, she seems like the antagonist half the time, too. I'm interested to follow her further adventures!