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A Spoonful of Sugar

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"A Spoonful of Sugar" is a song from Walt Disney's film and the musical versions of Mary Poppins, and it is composed by Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman.

It is an uptempo song sung by Mary Poppins (Julie Andrews), instructing the Banks children, Jane (Karen Dotrice) and Michael (Matthew Garber) to tidy up the nursery. But even though the task is daunting, with a good attitude, it can still be fun. It is heard throughout the film as Mary's leitmotif.

In the musical, Robertson Ay and Mrs. Brill are helping Winifred Banks with a tea party she is planning. Mrs. Brill tells Robertson Ay to make the frosting, which the kids try to do it instead (with Robertson Ay giving them warnings). This causes the kitchen to fall apart. Winifred is shocked to see it in this shape, when she came down with Mary. Mary sends her upstairs to get dressed, while she gives Jane and Michael some medicine, which comes out in different colors (just like in the film). Cleaning up the kitchen is similar to doing so to the nursery in the film.

At the end, Mary, Jane, and Michael head out on their outing much to the delight of Mrs. Brill. The song is mixed with "The Bare Necessities" and "It's a Small World", also Sherman Brothers songs, in the final number of On the Record, a short lived revue of Disney songs.


Julie Andrews had not yet committed to do the part of Mary. She didn't like the song that was written for her and did not think it made an appropriate signature song, as it did not have enough snap to it. The original song was called "The Eyes of Love". Walt Disney instructed the Sherman Brothers to come up with something more catchy. Robert B. Sherman, who is the primary lyricist of the duo arrived home from work one evening, having worked all day trying to come up with a song idea. As he walked in the door, his wife, Joyce, informed him that the children had received their polio vaccine that day. He asked his five-year-old son if it hurt (thinking that the boy had received a shot). He responded that it (the medicine) was put on a cube of sugar and that he swallowed it. Realizing what he had, Robert arrived at work early the next morning and suggested the lyric to his brother, Richard, who at first thought it was the worst song idea ever. Later, he played a melody to it (After thinking about Mary singing "Stay Awake" when she wants them to go to sleep. What this meant was that he thought whenever the lyric was the "down" part of the first chorus line, to go up with the music). With that, the song was born.


In every job that must be done
There is an element of fun
You find the fun and snap!
The job's a game

And ev'ry task you undertake
Becomes a piece of cake
A lark! A spree! It's very clear to see that

A Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The medicine go down-wown
The medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way

A robin feathering his nest
Has very little time to rest
While gathering his bits of twine and twig
Though quite intent in his pursuit
He has a merry tune to toot
He knows a song will move the job along - for

A Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The medicine go down-wown
The medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way

(Instrumental Bridge)

The honey bees that fetch the nectar
From the flowers to the comb
Never tire of ever buzzing to and fro
Because they take a little nip
From ev'ry flower that they sip
And hence (And hence),
They find (They find)
Their task is not a grind.

Ah-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h-h ah!

A Spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The medicine go down-wown
The medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way

Other Versions

Performer(s) Title(s) Translations(s) Language
Rozina Prendi Kostani Albanian
Denise Simonetto (VHS version)
Elizabeth Hartzersdorf (DVD version)
Brazilian Portuguese
Teresa María Castilian Spanish
Drahomíra Kočová ? ? Czech
Louise Fribo Danish
Joke de Kruijf Dutch
Marjo-Riitta "Marjorie" Nieminen Finnish
Éliane Thibault French
Monika Dahlberg German
נינט טייב (Ninet Tayeb) Hebrew
Tina Centi Italian
伊東恵里 (Eri Itō) Japanese
Vicky Córdova Latin Spanish
Jannike Kruse Norwegian
Joanna Węgrzynowska Polish
Isabela Neamțu Romanian
Ирина Линдт (Irina Lindt) Russian
Myrra Malmberg Swedish


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Films: Mary Poppins | Mary Poppins Returns | The Cat That Looked at a King | Video
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Mary Poppins | Bert | George Banks | Winifred Banks | Jane Banks | Michael Banks | Penguin Waiters | Fox | Admiral Boom and Mr. Binnacle | Uncle Albert | Mr. Dawes Sr. | Katie Nanna | Mrs. Brill | Ellen | Mr. Dawes Jr. | Constable Jones | Bird Woman | Andrew | The Pearly Band
London | Nursery

Film: Sister Suffragette | The Life I Lead | The Perfect Nanny | A Spoonful of Sugar | Jolly Holiday | Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious | Star Awake | I Love to Laugh | Feed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag) | Fidelity Fiduciary Bank | Chim Chim Cher-ee | Step in Time | A Man Has Dreams | Let's Go Fly a Kite
Musical: A British Bank | Temper, Temper | Practically Perfect | Anything Can Happen
Deleted Songs: The Chimpanzoo | The Right Side | The Land of Sand | Admiral Boom | Mary Poppins' Melody | You Think, You Blink | Through The Eyes of Love | West Wind | Tiki Town | The North Pole Polka

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