Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Books for Young Readers is publishing a half dozen new Mary Poppins titles this summer and fall in anticipation of the December release of the Disney feature film Mary Poppins Returns. Three of the titles are new adaptations of classic books and three are movie tie-ins.
The new editions under the core franchise include the first-ever picture book adaptation of the classic 1934 novel, illustrated in pastel and colored pencil by Genevieve Godbout, which is due out in October. An illustrated gift edition with a silver foil accent on the cover and full-color artwork by Júlia Sardà contains the entire text of the 1934 novel and will also release in October. Finally, a Mary Shepherd-illustrated board book, Mary Poppins ABC, is an adaptation of a 1962 title, Mary Poppins from A to Z. It was released back in June to introduce the youngest readers to the alphabet and to the franchise.
“The thinking was that these three editions would be a great way to introduce children to Mary Poppins, especially in advance of the film,” said Catherine Onder, senior v-p and publisher of HMH Books for Young Readers. The three editions have a combined first printing of 200,000 copies.
The release of new editions adheres to HMH’s template for keeping the franchise fresh. “We try to strike a balance and be strategic and mindful of Mary Poppins as a classic, but also be responsive to what’s going on in the culture at the right key moments,” Onder said. For example, a re-covered edition of the original book came out in 2006, timed to the Mary Poppins Broadway musical, while a boxed collection of the first four novels was released in 2014 to capitalize on the 80th anniversary of the original book.
On the movie tie-in side, three titles will debut in November of this year, prior to the December 19 premiere of the film. They include a deluxe novelization; an 8x8 storybook, Mary Poppins Returns: The Magic of Mary Poppins; and a level 2 reader, Mary Poppins Returns: Everything is Possible. “The storytelling in the film is really very interesting,” Onder said. The movie takes place 25 years after the original story and features a grown Jane and Michael Banks. There is at least one new character: Jack, the lamplighter, played by Lin-Manuel Miranda.
Emily Blunt assumes the role of Mary Poppins in the new film. “She has said in interviews that she used the original P.L. Travers books for inspiration, even more than the 1964 film,” Onder noted. “That makes me even more curious to see the movie.”
The tie-ins and classics alike have generated strong interest and enthusiasm from HMH’s accounts, some of which are offering top placement and promotional opportunities in anticipation of the film, Onder said. Illustrator Godbout is also doing events with bookstores in Montreal, where she is based, and at the Walt Disney Family Museum in San Francisco.
Mary Poppins ABC by P.L. Travers, illus. by Mary Shepard. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $8.99 June ISBN 978-1-328-91118-6
Mary Poppins by P.L. Travers, illus. by Genevieve Godbout. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.99 Oct. 23 ISBN 978-1-328-91677-8
Mary Poppins (illustrated gift edition) by P.L. Travers, illus. by Júlia Sardà. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $24.99 Oct. 23 ISBN 978-1-328-49884-7
Mary Poppins Returns (deluxe novelization), adapted by Kathy McCullough. Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $8.99 Nov. 13 ISBN 978-1-328-51274-1
Mary Poppins Returns: Everything Is Possible (level 2 reader). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $12.99, Nov. 13 ISBN 978-1-328-56634-8
Mary Poppins Returns: The Magic of Mary Poppins (8x8 storybook). Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $5.99 Nov. 13 ISBN 978-1-328-51273-4