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Mary Poppins Returns is finally in theaters this week and you know how we feel about Lin-Manuel Miranda. But you might not know how we feel about the practically perfect in every way woman of the hour herself: Mary Poppins. (Spoiler alert: we love her.) And while we’re very happy that she answered Jane and Michael Banks’ advertisement all those years ago, we’ve started wondering what some of our other favorite literary siblings might learn from the nanny’s teachings. Well today, we’re going to find out.

 

The Baudelaire Children from A Series of Unfortunate Events

Violet, Klaus, and Sunny Baudelaire move in with their distant relative Count Olaf when a fire kills their parents and destroys their childhood mansion. And it’s a twisted journey from then forward. But if Mary Poppins started caring for the children instead of the count, things might have turned out a lot differently. For starters, they’d learn to grieve in a healthy way. Processing a parent’s death takes a whole lot more than sugar to make the news go down easily and we’re confident that Mary would know just the trick. Conversation is certainly difficult when your whole world has been turned upside down, but a visit to the feed the birds with the old beggarwoman is enough to remind the children that they’re not alone.

 

The March Sisters from Little Women

Meg, Jo, Beth, and Amy March pass the days without much supervision. Their father is off serving as a pastor to the soldiers fighting in the Civil War. Their mother, Marmee, lives with them, but is mostly uninvolved with her daughters’ lives. If Mary Poppins showed up, they’d at least have a mother figure to confide in. (Though Jo would definitely pull a Leisel and say she’s too old for a nanny.) Mary Poppins would keep the March sisters occupied with adventures in make believe. Real horses will seem incredibly boring after a ride on the colorful steeds from the carousel. And we know she’d save Beth from the scarlet fever she contracts. There’s a reason the carpet bag she carries looks so much like an old-fashioned medical kit.

 

 

Hansel and Gretel from Grimm’s Fairy Tales

In the dark fairy tale recorded by Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, Hansel and Gretel are lured by a house made of candy – and ultimately kidnapped by a cannibalistic witch who wants to eat these small children. There’s no telling what led these siblings to the woods in the first place, but it definitely stemmed from a lack in supervision. With Mary Poppins by their side, Hansel and Gretel would never wander. They’d be too busy playing games that sound like chores; games like “tidy up the nursery” and “take your medicine.” There’s no way they’d suspect their lives were in danger with a nanny like Mary Poppins on their case.

 

The Alden Siblings from The Boxcar Children

When Henry, Jessie, Violet, and Benny Alden are orphaned, they find a home in an abandoned boxcar and make a new life for themselves, one filled with honest work and decidedly fewer showers than are recommended. If Mary Poppins was on the scene, she might not be able to find a new home for these children, but she’d certainly know how to make the best of a bad situation. She’d enlist the help of her friend Burt – he’s always trying out new professions – and see if he has any advice for these wanderers. Because the last thing she’d want to do is land them a job in a bank.


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Danielle Mohlman

Danielle Mohlman is a playwright, bookworm, and library connoisseur. You can find her on Twitter and Tumblr. (She has a lot to say.) And on Instagram. (She never foodstagrams.) When she grows up, she wants to be Leslie Knope.