Books: Umbrella Route

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MARY POPPINS—P. L. Travers—Reynal & Hitchcock ($1.50).

As rarely as Shelley's Spirit of Delight comes a first-rate children's book. Mary Poppins will not qualify for this category, for Publishers Reynal & Hitchcock announce that it is not a juvenile; it is a story written ostensibly for children but with sentimental implications no child could grasp. Reminiscent of A. A. Milne, Peter Pan, Sruwelpeter, et al., Mary Pop- pins is far above the low average of modern fairy stories, will delight readers who have been badly brought up in the matter of children's classics. But it is not another Alice in Wonderland. Mary Poppins was, to say the least, a peculiar nursemaid. She came to the Banks family on a strong east wind, and firmly refused to give any references. Though her manner was formidable, the Banks children liked her at once, hoped she would stay. She was an efficient nurse, "never wasted time in being nice," was a great one for saying No or Humph. But she was in cahoots with all kinds of magical powers, astounded and captivated her charges by the series of delightful adventures she sprang on them. One night, to the children's dismay, the wind changed. Sure enough, Mary Poppins left. But she went away in style, by the umbrella route.