Fans of the classic Disney film Mary Poppins may be disappointed to learn that its source material contains no dancing penguins. There’s little mention of the tap-dancing chimney sweep Bert, and Mr. Banks never flew any kites. But still, P.L. Travers’ classic story contains one of the most intriguing protagonists in the history of children’s literature: the peculiar and magical nanny Mary Poppins. The book, which is the first in a series of whimsical tales about the beleaguered Banks family, follows Poppins after the east wind blows her and her wondrous carpet bag to the house on Cherry Tree Lane. What ensues is a captivating adventure filled with so much heart that it inspired movies and music for generations. The 1964 film adaptation introduced viewers to a plethora of songs about love, family and laughter, and led to Julie Andrews’ Academy Award win for best actress. —Annabel Gutterman

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