Tuesday, November 07, 2006

review: Mary Poppins in the Kitchen

Mary Poppins in the Kitchen by P.L. Travers. Illustrated by
Mary Shepard. 1975; Harcourt, 2006 (0-15-207080-4) $14.00

This book is in two parts, a section of stories about Mary Poppins and her charges cooking and a collection of recipes, and it says something that the recipes are slightly more interesting than the stories. Each vignette follows the same pattern: the children are reunited with one of the odder characters from the Mary Poppins books, who's come to help with the cooking, and mild hijinks briefly ensue; the effect is a bit like that of a television clip show, and only readers who are already very fond of the series will be much entertained. But the cookbook section is fun, if you like that sort of thing (I do), with hearty recipes like Shepherd's Pie and dashes of cookery wisdom from Mary Poppins, such as "You must wait for the souffle--it won't wait for you." It's not completely beginner friendly, but kids (or adults) who already know the basics of separating eggs and sifting flour will find it pretty easy to follow. (8 & up)