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"A Spoonful of Sugar" is a song from the film and musical versions of Mary Poppins, and it is composed by the Sherman Brothers.

It is an uptempo song sung by Mary Poppins, instructing Jane and Michael Banks to tidy up the nursery. 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 Jane and Michael try to do 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 Ellen's delight. 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. It was included on Disney's Sing-Along Songs: Be Our Guest and Disney's Sing-Along Songs: Collection of All-Time Favorites: The Magic Years.

In the stage adaptation, the song relatively remains the same. The only change is new lyrics added in the finale where Mary Poppins leaves, satisfied with the Banks family's improvement.


Julie Andrews had not yet committed to play 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 every 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, 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, 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...


(Instrumental bridge)

For a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
The medicine go down, medicine go down
Just a spoonful of sugar helps the medicine go down
In a most delightful way

Mary Poppins: With every job when it's complete
There is a sense of bitter-sweet
That moment when you know the task is done
Though in your heart you'd like to stay
To help things on their way
You've always known they must do it alone

There, practically perfect, and I hope it remains so.

Other Versions[]

Performer(s) Title(s) Translations(s) Language
Elizabeth Hartzersdorf Brazilian Portuguese
Teresa María Castilian Spanish
Drahomíra Kočová Czech
Louise Fribo Danish
Joke de Kruijf Dutch
Marjo-Riitta "Marjorie" Nieminen Finnish
Éliane Thibault Un morceau de sucre A Piece of Sugar French
Monika Dahlberg Wenn ein Löffelchen voll Zucker If a Spoon Full of Sugar German
נינט טייב (Ninet Tayeb) Hebrew
Tina Centi Italian
伊東恵里 (Eri Itō) お砂糖ひとさじで

(Osatō Hitosaji de)

With a Spoonful of Sugar Japanese
Vicky Córdova Latin Spanish
Jannike Kruse Norwegian
Joanna Węgrzynowska Polish
Ирина Линдт (Irina Lindt) Russian
Myrra Malmberg Swedish




v - e - d
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Country Bear Musical JamboreeGarden of the Twelve FriendsMary PoppinsThe Great Movie Ride

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Mary Poppins: Mary PoppinsBertGeorge BanksWinifred BanksJane BanksMichael BanksPenguin WaitersFoxAdmiral Boom and Mr. BinnacleUncle AlbertMr. Dawes Sr.Katie NannaMrs. BrillEllenMr. Dawes Jr.Constable JonesJolly Holiday Farm AnimalsThe Pearly BandRobinsMiss LarkChimney SweepsParrot Umbrella

Mary Poppins Returns: William Weatherall WilkinsJackTopsyThe Balloon LadyClydeShamusJohn BanksAnnabel BanksGeorgie BanksAngusHamilton Gooding and Templeton FryeThe Park KeeperPenny FarthingDolphinsRoyal Doulton AnimalsLamplighters
The Cat That Looked at a King: CatKingQueenPrime Minister
Musical: Miss Andrew

LondonCherry Tree LaneEnglish Countryside PaintingRoyal Doulton Music Hall
Mary Poppins: Sister SuffragetteThe Life I LeadThe Perfect NannyA Spoonful of SugarSobre las OlasJolly HolidaySupercalifragilisticexpialidociousStay AwakeI Love to LaughFeed the Birds (Tuppence a Bag)A British BankFidelity Fiduciary BankChim Chim Cher-eeStep in TimeA Man Has DreamsLet's Go Fly a Kite

Mary Poppins Returns: (Underneath the) Lovely London SkyA ConversationCan You Imagine That?The Royal Doulton Music HallA Cover is Not the BookThe Place Where Lost Things GoTurning TurtleTrip a Little Light FantasticNowhere to Go But Up
Musical: Temper, TemperPractically PerfectAnything Can HappenBrimstone and TreaclePlaying the GameBeing Mrs. BanksGood for NothingCherry Tree LanePrecision and Order
Deleted Songs: The Anthropomorphic ZooThe ChimpanzooThe Right SideThe Land of SandAdmiral BoomMary Poppins' MelodyYou Think, You BlinkThrough The Eyes of LoveWest WindTiki TownThe North Pole Polka