Jane and Michael Banks are two children who know what they want, and what they want is the perfect nanny. We’re going to dissect the advertisement they submit to the newspaper to identify all of the ingredients that make a Mary Poppins (and also because we feel like it and we were English majors). So pip pip and cheerio! Let’s get analyzing.
♫ If you want this choice position, have a cheery disposition. ♫
Okay, this sounds reasonable enough. We’d like our nanny to smile and be nice to us as well. Proceed, children.
♫ Rosy cheeks, no warts. Play games, all sorts. ♫
Rosy cheeks is a little demanding; we don’t love putting on makeup everyday, but okay, if they’re talking about a general glow we can get behind that. Warts seem out of someone’s control, but we’re chalking this one up to late-Victorian horrid nanny stereotypes. As far games, we like them.
♫ You must be kind, you must be witty. Very sweet and fairly pretty. ♫
First of all, we’re glad Michael and Jane rate sweetness higher than prettiness. Way to go, kids. Also, these two have a great vocabulary, and we’re impressed they’re judging potential nannies based partially on wit. We think it’s because they’re British. And, therefore, great.
♫ Take us on outings, give us treats. Sing songs, bring sweets. ♫
No one does outings like Mary Poppins does outings; we know this. We definitely agree with treats and sweets, though in moderation. And as for song singing, it’s a must in any babysitter worth their salt.
♫ Never be cross or cruel, never give us castor oil or gruel. ♫
There’s a difference between giving a necessary reprimand and being cross and cruel, so we are all for this stipulation. We don’t know a lot about different kinds of oil, but castor oil doesn’t seem entirely edible, so again, the children are wise to write this into the advert. However, if by “gruel” they’re really talking about oatmeal, we’ll have to agree to disagree. Cause we love oatmeal. Add some peanut butter, some maple syrup, and a little cinnamon. Mmmm good.
♫ Love us as a son and daughter and never smell of barley water. ♫
This is the most problematic of the requests. We know where Michael and Jane are coming from, their parents are a bit… preoccupied, but a nanny should find that delicate balance between parent and friend. An aunt; they should be like an aunt. Also, what is barley water?
♫ If you won’t scold and dominate us we will never give you cause to hate us. ♫
Hmm, slightly odd, but okay…
♫ We won’t hide your spectacles so you can’t see, put toads in your bed, and pepper in your tea. ♫
…These kids are prank masterminds. No wonder they’ve gone through so many nannies. But we think they were always waiting for Mary Poppins and just didn’t know it. Also, note to selves: check beds for toads.
♫ Hurry, nanny. Many thanks. Sincerely, Jane and Michael Banks. ♫
Okay, well this is overly formal and has multiple endings, but we’ll forgive Jane and Michael for that because they’re like eight years old and have written a pretty wonderful advertisement.
What’s your favorite line from this song? Tell us in the comments!