Comparing a Book to Its Movie – Mary Poppins

In our home school, we occasionally use movies as a learning tool. They’re a fun way to learn a story or a subject. Believe it or not, we frequently watch them during our book club studies. When our monthly book club selection has also been made into a movie, we view it so we can compare the two.

Over the years, my children have gotten proficient at looking at the two mediums and discussing their similarities and differences, which is a great skill to acquire.

A Book and a Movie: Mary Poppins @Education PossibleThis post contains affiliate links.

Comparing Books to their Movies

After the girls and I finish reading a book and watching the movie, we spend time talking about them. To keep our thoughts organized, we use a Venn diagram. This gives us a framework for our discussion, plus it’s a terrific visual tool. As we finish, the kids can easily see how closely a movie stuck to the book.

To get started comparing books and movies, download your own copy of Comparing a Book to Its Movie.


When the children first glimpsed a recent book club list, they were confused, because as far as they knew, Mary Poppins was a movie. It has been a beloved classic Disney movie for decades; however until the release of Saving Mr. Banks, I don’t think many connected the movie to the bestselling novel by P.L. Travers.

Differences and Similarities between Mary Poppins the Book and Movie


After reading the book and watching the movie, my girls realized that there were quite a few disparities between the two, however, they saw value in both versions.

The Story


Each chapter is almost a stand-alone tale, its own unique adventure.

Many stories, like visiting the zoo at night, purchasing gingerbread stars, as well as Michael’s mischievous day are only in the book.


As a whole, the movie is one complete story, with each part flowing into the next.

This is where we get to sing! Who, after watching Mary Poppins, doesn’t know the words to Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious or A Spoonful of Sugar?

Here, Mrs. Banks is portrayed as a suffragette, perhaps to explain her frequent absence from the children. Another favorite scene (and song) found only in the movie, is when the kites are flown.


In both the book and the movie we are introduced to Uncle Albert and the magic of laughter. We also meet the bird woman; however the related song is missing from the book.

Mary Poppins


Mary is stern, rude, and almost cold in the book. She rarely smiles and is often bothered by the children and their questions.

She is also quite vain. The author made us laugh as she described how Mary loved to go window shopping, so she could see how wonderful she looked in the reflection.


Mary is stern, but quite joyful and loving. Yes, she can be short with the children, but overall she is a pleasant person.



The magic of Mary is present, most famously with her sliding up the banister. She arrives and departs upon a strong wind, carrying her umbrella and carpetbag.

The Children


There are four children, Jane, Michael, John, and Barbara (twin babies) in this book, although Jane and Michael go on most of the adventures.


There are only two children, Jane and Michael.




Bert is a Match-Man and a chalk artist. He is Mary’s best friend, not a love interest. The children never meet Bert. Instead it is Mary herself who has the chalk drawing adventure with him during one of her days off.


Bert is a chimney sweep and a chalk artist. Bert goes on adventures with Mary and the children, often singing and dancing. He also takes care of Uncle Albert.

This is only a part of what we found. There are many more points to discover. Use this download – Comparing a Book to its Movie and see what you learn.

Mary Poppins is a classic book as well as a timeless movie. Taking a critical look at them both helps you see what makes them special in their own right.

Want even more? How about hosting a practically perfect tea.

Have your kids read Mary Poppins and seen the movie? What did they think?

 movies Get more ideas for homeschooling with movies from the ladies of iHN.

Megan Zechman
I love homeschooling! Learning is a way of life for our family. Most days you will find us exploring our Central Florida community, having fun while learning. I am constantly looking for new and interactive ways to engage my older children.
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman
Megan Zechman

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  1. I never thought of comparing books vs. movies to be a taught skill. Thanks for linking up at the Thoughtful Spot Weekly Blog Hop! We hope you stop by again next week!

    1. I didn’t either Samantha until I asked my kids to do it. After a few they got the idea and now are pretty good at critically comparing the two versions. It took a while to get past the generic responses, but I’m glad I stuck with it.

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