Friends come in many guises. In these autobiographical stories, three characters - an eccentric great aunt, a Chinese cook and a foul-mouthed ex-jockey - assert a lifelong influence on the narrator, as she looks back over her childhood. Much like Mary Poppins, each comes into the child's life just when she needs them most. And each, however unlikely, becomes a friend and a champion to the young girl.
Charming, tender and moving, these stories, which were given to the author's friends as Christmas gifts, contain all the hallmarks you'd expect from such a magical writer. They are also fascinating for anybody who, after watching Saving Mr Banks, wants to find out more about Travers' early life. And best of all, you will meet the woman who was the inspiration for Mary Poppins.
P. L. Travers was born Helen Lyndon Goff in 1899 in Queensland, Australia. She worked as a dancer and an actress, but writing was her real love and she turned to journalism. Travers set sail for England in 1924 and became an essayist, theatre and film critic, and scholar of folklore and myth. While recuperating from a serious illness Travers wrote Mary Poppins -'to while away the days, but also to put down something that had been in my mind for a long time,' she said. It was first published in 1934 and was an instant success. Mary Poppins has gone on to become one of the best-loved classics in children's literature and has enchanted generations. In addition to the Mary Poppins books, Travers wrote novels, poetry and non-fiction. She received an OBE in 1977 and died in 1996.