Of Flying Peppermint Sticks

Mary Poppins Opens the Door by P.L. Travers

Grade: B

Mary Poppins Opens the Door feels a little too formulaic after the other Mary Poppins books, but it still retains some of the magic from the original idea. I love the character of Miss Calico, a pin-covered old lady who charges a mere pin for the delight of riding on a flying peppermint stick. Each peppermint stick is like an enchanted horse and she calls them back to her at night. Most of the other new characters and adventures seem a bit stale to me, but I would still recommend this book for fans of Mary Poppins.

Alas for the GLP, I could never get rid of this book, even though I only gave it a “B” grade. First, it’s an important part of a beloved series. Second, my copy is a lovely old edition from 1943 that gives a welcoming (though somewhat worrisome) crackle every time I open it, and the pages smell exactly the way pages of an old book are supposed to smell. There is also a gift inscription from Christmas 1943 (not to me, of course!), something which many book collectors would not like, but which I do. I love to see books given as gifts, though there is a touch of sadness in the thought that the original recipient of the book gave it away. Of course, if he hadn’t, I wouldn’t own it today. His loss. My gain.

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