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Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

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Ian Fleming, best known for his James Bond novels, wrote only one childrens bookand it is a classic! Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is the name of the flying, floating, driving-by-itself automobile that takes the Pott family on a riotous series of adventures as they try to capture a notorious gang of robbers. This is a story filled with humor, adventure, and gadgetry that only a Ian Fleming, best known for his James Bond novels, wrote only one children’s book—and it is a classic! Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is the name of the flying, floating, driving-by-itself automobile that takes the Pott family on a riotous series of adventures as they try to capture a notorious gang of robbers. This is a story filled with humor, adventure, and gadgetry that only a genius like Fleming could create. From the Hardcover edition.


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Ian Fleming, best known for his James Bond novels, wrote only one childrens bookand it is a classic! Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is the name of the flying, floating, driving-by-itself automobile that takes the Pott family on a riotous series of adventures as they try to capture a notorious gang of robbers. This is a story filled with humor, adventure, and gadgetry that only a Ian Fleming, best known for his James Bond novels, wrote only one children’s book—and it is a classic! Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is the name of the flying, floating, driving-by-itself automobile that takes the Pott family on a riotous series of adventures as they try to capture a notorious gang of robbers. This is a story filled with humor, adventure, and gadgetry that only a genius like Fleming could create. From the Hardcover edition.

30 review for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

  1. 5 out of 5

    Jayson

    (B+) 77% | Good Notes: Is this the real world, or is it magical? This family is much too quick to accept that their car is enchanted and sentient.

  2. 5 out of 5

    C.G. Drews

    You know that moment when you skim the first 50 pages of a book adn then decide you know all about it and go make a 2hr movie from it?? THAT'S BASICALLY WHAT THE CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG MOVIE DID. It's so nothing like the book that it's actually hilarious. Ahem. The main reason I picked this up was because I loved the movie as a kid (haaaated the Child Catcher though. Hello nightmares forever) and I had no idea it was a book until last week. SO. I had to read it. I mean, by itself, the book was You know that moment when you skim the first 50 pages of a book adn then decide you know all about it and go make a 2hr movie from it?? THAT'S BASICALLY WHAT THE CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG MOVIE DID. It's so nothing like the book that it's actually hilarious. Ahem. The main reason I picked this up was because I loved the movie as a kid (haaaated the Child Catcher though. Hello nightmares forever) and I had no idea it was a book until last week. SO. I had to read it. I mean, by itself, the book was cute. I like how it used big words (and explained them) but I expected it to be Middle-Grade, but I think it was aimed more at 7 or 8 year olds. It was very simplistic and the narrator spoon-fed just about everything. But I was still impressed with the use of language and it was quirky and SO VERY ENGLISH. And of course it's always nice when kids get to go on adventures with their parents for once. But, ya know, just in case you're curious, here's what was different in the book to movie: • the book contains NO MAGICAL WORLD that they fly to and rescue children and defeat an evil king/queen and battle the childcatcher and turn into human music boxes • nada • not at all • instead they boat to France and get involved in robbing a sweet shop and Jeremy and Jemima save the day by not letting bad guys rob a sweet shop. • like, woah, did the movie directors not read the book • (of course there are 3 more books so who knows what might happen in them, I guess???) • and there is a MOTHER so no Truly!! I'm so sad!!! • Also no singing!! This might come as a surprise!!! But there you go!!! • No old navy grandfather either • Although they do sell Toot Sweets (except they're called Crackpot Whistline Sweets) so at least a little faith was restored there ALL IN ALL: It's not that I care that it was different from the movie...I just wasn't so into the whole "lowkey robbery" thing happening. And I felt they took far too long to GET to the robbery. Too much driving, too much going through a boring cave, etc, etc. It was cute and fun and small human creatures who like cars would probably enjoy this. (ALSO WHAT EVEN. THIS AUTHOR WROTE JAMES BOND. TALK ABOUT A SMALL CHANGE IN TUNE RIGHT HERE.)

  3. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    While most famous for his work on creating Agent 007, Ian Fleming wrote this classic children's story many years ago, which entertains as much as it captures the interest of many young readers. Commander Caractacus Pott has a long history of inventing things, which provides limited success and forces the family to gather round in times of financial strain. After selling one of his ideas to a local confectionary, the Potts head out to purchase their first family car. Commander Pott brings his While most famous for his work on creating Agent 007, Ian Fleming wrote this classic children's story many years ago, which entertains as much as it captures the interest of many young readers. Commander Caractacus Pott has a long history of inventing things, which provides limited success and forces the family to gather round in times of financial strain. After selling one of his ideas to a local confectionary, the Potts head out to purchase their first family car. Commander Pott brings his wife (Mimsie) and twins (Jeremy and Jemima) along to find a vehicle that might suit them. One that has been left to the side catches their attention and soon the Potts have a vehicle of their own. This vehicle appears somewhat standard in appearance but seems to have a personality all its own, down to its name, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The Pott Family find themselves out exploring the rural English countryside one day when things take a slight detour and Chitty begins showing off her wonderful capabilities (as many will know, cars prefer to be 'she' and Fleming discusses this). Departing the confines of England, Chitty takes the Commander and his brood on a continental exploration, which goes from exciting to problematic in the blink of an eye. Jemima and Jeremy are soon placed in danger and no one can help them, though Chitty might have seen in all, if only she can get the Commander and Mimsie to heed her alerts. A wonderful story that will keep the young reader hooked until the very last pages. I will admit that I had heard of this book (and movie) a long time ago, but it is only now, when asked to do a quick buddy read, that I decided to go all in. Fleming takes this outrageous idea and puts a nice spin on it, perfect for young readers. While there is much that can be said of Commander Pott, the story is rightly all about this unique vehicle, though the other characters found herein keep things light and adventurous. Fleming teases readers with what might be around the corner, beginning with talk of a magical sweet, but soon pushes the story well away from inventions and into the fast-paced world of travels and trouble. In a fashion that I have only seen in English children's books, the narrator keeps the reader fully involved and helps push speculation to its limits, while also making sure that no one is left behind. The twists and turns of this tale are wonderfully paced and the reader is sure to want more. As do I, admittedly. So, I'll rush out to read the next three in the series, though it is too bad that Fleming never got around to writing those, too busy keeping the rest of the world safe with James Bond. Kudos, Mr. Fleming for your wonderful beginning to a series of children's novels sure to bamboozle as much as they excite the young reader. I feel like a kid again as I devoured this wonderful story. Like/hate the review? An ever-growing collection of others appears at: http://pecheyponderings.wordpress.com/

  4. 5 out of 5

    Juli

    I think every avid reader must have a list (even if it's just in their head and not actually written down) of books they would like to read, but never seem to find the time. My list of "someday'' reads is quite extensive, but I have vowed that this year I will read more books from my own library shelves and also more books off my I'd-really-love-to-read-that list. When I found out years ago that Ian Fleming (author of all those lovely 007 spy novels) wrote a children's book that one my favorite I think every avid reader must have a list (even if it's just in their head and not actually written down) of books they would like to read, but never seem to find the time. My list of "someday'' reads is quite extensive, but I have vowed that this year I will read more books from my own library shelves and also more books off my I'd-really-love-to-read-that list. When I found out years ago that Ian Fleming (author of all those lovely 007 spy novels) wrote a children's book that one my favorite Disney movies is based on, at first I didn't believe it. I had to look it up to get proof. At that point, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang made it onto my list of books I wanted to read. And I finally did it! Well, I listened to an unabridged audiobook version -- but that still counts! And.....it was just....lovely!!!! The book is almost completely different from the movie....but that's true of almost any children's book Disney adapts into an animated film. The Pott family includes Commander Caractacus Pott, his wife Mimsie and their two children Jeremy and Jemimah. Sometimes the family has a bit of financial trouble because the Commander is a bit eccentric....he's an inventor. Sometimes the things he invents are quite useful....and sometimes not. One day he invents a sweet that whistles and sells it to a candy company. He uses the money to buy a car.....and not just any car. After a bit of sprucing up, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang joins the Pott family. She's not just a car.....but a very very special car. A drive to the beach will teach the Pott family just how special Chitty is! What adventures they have! I still love the movie with Dick VanDyke (the whole scene with the whistling candy had me humming Toot Sweet in my head).....but....the book is just happy, lovely and wonderful!!! The audiobook I listened to is narrated by Andrew Sachs. It is unabridged and runs just shy of 2.5 hours. Sachs did a wonderful job...he reads at an even pace, and did great sound effects and voices for the characters. I have hearing loss, but was easily able to hear and understand every bit of the story. So glad I finally got to enjoy the original story. I hope someday they make a movie that follows the book....the story really is great!!

  5. 5 out of 5

    Jason Koivu

    "I'm not interested in your Shitty Shitty Gang Bang," is essentially what I told my bestbud back in elementary school when he was trying with all his ernest might to make me see the light and enjoy the wholesome, family-fun goodness that is this book. This was at a time when he was listening to Weird Al and I was learning how to bang my head to Quiet Riot. Fast-forward about 30 yearsI've finally read Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and I see the light! This book is delightful! There's kooky characters, a "I'm not interested in your Shitty Shitty Gang Bang," is essentially what I told my bestbud back in elementary school when he was trying with all his ernest might to make me see the light and enjoy the wholesome, family-fun goodness that is this book. This was at a time when he was listening to Weird Al and I was learning how to bang my head to Quiet Riot. Fast-forward about 30 years…I've finally read Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and I see the light! This book is delightful! There's kooky characters, a fast car, magic, old timey British thugs, mysteries, adventure and spelunking! Basically this book is made up of a handful of short stories cobbled together in linear fashion so that they read like one continuous novel. That is one of the reasons I hesitate to give this a full 5 stars. That and the plot is not always as riveting as it could be. Even looking at it from the perspective of my younger self, I know at no age through out my life would I have been 100% satisfied with the ease with which the Potts, that enthusiastic family of wackos who own Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, get out of pickles and tight jams. The deus ex machina of a magic car makes it all too easy. Nonetheless, these are fun tales and I think in a year or two I may attempt reading them to my young niece, who will no doubt say to me, "I'm not interested in your Shitty Shitty Gang Bang."

  6. 4 out of 5

    BAM The Bibliomaniac

    "Never say no to adventures. Always say yes. Otherwise you'll lead a very dull life." Too, too cute! I'm glad this lighthearted kids' novel was selected as a buddy read. The way Commander Pott took care of the car reminded me so much of my father-washing, waxing, spot check before and after driving. So the book is not at all like the movie, which I didn't expect, but it was still brilliant. The children are brave, the father is ingenious, there's actually a mother. Bad guys galore to vanquish. "Never say no to adventures. Always say yes. Otherwise you'll lead a very dull life." Too, too cute! I'm glad this lighthearted kids' novel was selected as a buddy read. The way Commander Pott took care of the car reminded me so much of my father-washing, waxing, spot check before and after driving. So the book is not at all like the movie, which I didn't expect, but it was still brilliant. The children are brave, the father is ingenious, there's actually a mother. Bad guys galore to vanquish. And the magical car who names herself. I look forward to the rest of the series even if it isn't written by the great Fleming.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Paul E. Morph

    I've wanted to read this book since I first found out it was written by Ian Fleming. This is the only novel he ever wrote that wasn't part of the James Bond series and it's a bizarre little oddity. If, like me, your only previous experience of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is the movie, you're in for some surprises. The original book bears little resemblance to the movie version. Some of the characters are different and the plot is very different indeed. I'd actually quite like to see a new movie I've wanted to read this book since I first found out it was written by Ian Fleming. This is the only novel he ever wrote that wasn't part of the James Bond series and it's a bizarre little oddity. If, like me, your only previous experience of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is the movie, you're in for some surprises. The original book bears little resemblance to the movie version. Some of the characters are different and the plot is very different indeed. I'd actually quite like to see a new movie adaptation, perhaps animated rather than live action, that is faithful to the book. I was pleasantly surprised to find that the first act of the book takes place a stone's throw from where I live. I was also pleasantly surprised to find that the book is nowhere near as twee as the movie. Overall, this is a nice little children's book and I'm glad I finally got around to reading it. Anybody who's read Stephen King's Christine or From A Buick 8 will never be able to trust Chitty Chitty Bang Bang entirely, of course... The audiobook version is read by David Tennant. Partly because I was in Scotland while I was listening to this, I was a little disappointed that David didn't read this in his own Scottish accent, but rather chose to read it in the English accent he uses for Doctor Who. Still, he reads it brilliantly, and there's actually a short interview with him at the end of the recording about his feeling on the book, which is a nice little extra. He speaks in his own accent in the interview. Buddy read with Sunshine Seaspray

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lesle

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang my edition by Ian Fleming The Dedication: for the original built in 1920 by Count Zborowski near Canterbury. Inside was a 1914 chain drive 75 horsepower 6-cylinder Maybach airplane enginein 1921 Chitty won the Hundred MPH at Brooklands and again in 1922 followed by an accident and she was never raced again. The Note: Story takes place in England so we receive a lesson in currency. The Story: So much fun and very charming! The car? Broken down but repaired by Potts and a Chitty Chitty Bang Bang my edition by Ian Fleming The Dedication: for the original built in 1920 by Count Zborowski near Canterbury. Inside was a 1914 chain drive 75 horsepower 6-cylinder Maybach airplane engine…in 1921 Chitty won the Hundred MPH at Brooklands and again in 1922 followed by an accident and she was never raced again. The Note: Story takes place in England so we receive a lesson in currency. The Story: So much fun and very charming! The car? Broken down but repaired by Potts and a little from Chitty herself with added nuances all her own. Once complete a trip in this car is nothing like you could ever imagine. Yes anything can happen and it does keeping the thrill going. As in any good tale there is adventure and mortal danger! The Illustrations: Are wonderful and help with the imagination in your own movie form as you go along. The Lessons: Money. A little French. A little cooking. Working together as a family (including Chitty) can save the day. The Author: Hard to imagine coming from the author of James Bond himself! The Movie: The book is so much better. A different plot in the movie but that’s ok, I never liked the Child Catcher anyways! In the end very enjoyable and fun read!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Manny

    James Bond, the children's book begat James Bond, the musical begat James Bond, the stage show. But where can we go from here? It occurred to me to google "James Bond Ballet", and I did at least find this picture: Surely it's now just a matter of time before it actually happens?

  10. 5 out of 5

    Lynn

    What a surprise to find just how different the movie is from the book! This is very much Ian Flemming, focused on the car and the adventure. There is no 'Truly Scrumptious'; there is no weird castle with singing toys and a king who hates kids. There IS a wonderful magical car, and exact descriptions of what it does. There IS a great adventure with a trip to France and a scary thief. A great book for boys, and it stands the test of time. This was Ian Flemming's last book before he died, and his What a surprise to find just how different the movie is from the book! This is very much Ian Flemming, focused on the car and the adventure. There is no 'Truly Scrumptious'; there is no weird castle with singing toys and a king who hates kids. There IS a wonderful magical car, and exact descriptions of what it does. There IS a great adventure with a trip to France and a scary thief. A great book for boys, and it stands the test of time. This was Ian Flemming's last book before he died, and his only children's book. (from author info in book)

  11. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    "Never say 'no' to adventures." This was a complete and utter delight. I've been a fan of the movie/musical since I was a small child, so when I saw that David Tennant had narrated this audiobook, I picked it up. What's inside is a story that's far different than the film, but just as whimsical and just as fun. There is no Truly Scrumptious, but the kids have their own mother. There are Toot Sweets, but no rollicking dance number. There is no magical land and no need to disguise as living toys, "Never say 'no' to adventures." This was a complete and utter delight. I've been a fan of the movie/musical since I was a small child, so when I saw that David Tennant had narrated this audiobook, I picked it up. What's inside is a story that's far different than the film, but just as whimsical and just as fun. There is no Truly Scrumptious, but the kids have their own mother. There are Toot Sweets, but no rollicking dance number. There is no magical land and no need to disguise as living toys, but there is a famous sweet shop and stopping mobsters from robbing it. So really, which is better? I might say the movie, actually. Simply because it's so wacky and so wonderful and it has Dick van Dyke in it. But the two are so vastly different that there's really not much of a comparison aside from Chitty herself. And gosh, Chitty's cool in the book. But even though it wasn't the story I know and love so well, I had a wonderful time listening to this little adventure. The family was sweet, the intrigue was enough to keep me interested, the kids were SUCH icons, and now I just really want to watch the movie again. I had a lot of fun, and for that, I give it 4 stars.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Mark

    I couldn't sit through the Disney adaptation of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but I remember it from my childhood. I also remember trying Mary Poppins and I didn't like that one either. But I'm big on nostalgia. Remembering them good ole days, them calmer days. A few years ago I revisited The Wind in the Willows, which I'm told Mom read to me as a kid and we both hated. When I revisited, I was enthralled. I don't think it was simply nostalgia. Sure it brought back memories of summertime and warm I couldn't sit through the Disney adaptation of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but I remember it from my childhood. I also remember trying Mary Poppins and I didn't like that one either. But I'm big on nostalgia. Remembering them good ole days, them calmer days. A few years ago I revisited The Wind in the Willows, which I'm told Mom read to me as a kid and we both hated. When I revisited, I was enthralled. I don't think it was simply nostalgia. Sure it brought back memories of summertime and warm grass and swingsets and ..., but it was more than that: the story rocked, the characters rocked, and crazy Toad (of Toad Hall) was a raucous anarchist who was friggin hilarious. Sometimes nostalgia's just a feeling, misremembered. In the case of Willows it was a pleasant surprise. So, I had high hopes last Sunday when I decided to revisit Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It's a neat story how Chitty came to be. It was written by James Bond author Ian Fleming while convalescing from a second heart attack. A friend brought Fleming a copy of a book by Beatrix Potter and suggested he write up the story he used to tell his son before bed. James Bond author does children's fiction, sounds good. The inherent nostalgia in imagining Fleming telling this story to his son was also nice to think about. And, Chitty, the car, is based on a real automobile! How cool! Sadly, Fleming would not live long enough to see the book's publication several years later. All of these things made me wanna try it. My buddy Kasia said her Dad had read several Bond novels and was not all that fond of Fleming's writing style. I bore this in mind as I began. By the end of chapter one, I saw just what Papa S. meant. Ian Fleming and I did't jive. His writing is like watching a car pull up to a railroad track, stop at the black and white crossbar, and just as the locomotive is crossing in front of it, proceed ahead with the pedal to the metal. When you think a sentence should syntactically end, Fleming, in every case, barrels forward with no heed, rolling, tumbling, cavorting, leap-frogging, jump-jacking, cartwheeling - this is making it sound more interesting than it is. . . And really, the story goes nowhere. First we meet the family. They're flat as cardboard. Couldn't tell you much about any of them. The father's a stereotypical mad scientist. There were a couple other people in the story but I couldn't tell you a thing about them. In a couple chapters the family adopts the car. The car's pretty interesting, what little we get to see of it. Car's kind of snooty, though. That wasn't cool. Then the family goes to the beach and acts very stupid. I can't remember much after that. After seven chapters I had enough. Sometimes nostalgia works in mysterious ways. Sometimes nostalgia is better left in the mind

  13. 4 out of 5

    Karen

    I loved this children's book! The story was fun and Fleming's writing just draws you in. A fast, enjoyable book for all ages. Now I'm going to watch the movie!

  14. 5 out of 5

    Jeanette

    So much fun! The kids and I listened to this on audio because David Tennant does the narration and it was excellent. When reading along with the text, one of us noticed that our print edition changed a number of words. For example, pocketbook was changed to wallet. Yes, an American is more likely to say wallet than pocketbook but this book was not written by an American and I hate it when publishers change books when they are published in the states. If I had known changes were made, slight as So much fun! The kids and I listened to this on audio because David Tennant does the narration and it was excellent. When reading along with the text, one of us noticed that our print edition changed a number of words. For example, pocketbook was changed to wallet. Yes, an American is more likely to say wallet than pocketbook but this book was not written by an American and I hate it when publishers change books when they are published in the states. If I had known changes were made, slight as they might be, I would have ordered an edition from the UK.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kristie

    Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a magical car. It can do things that other cars cannot, which is very fortunate for the family that purchases it. The book is one big adventure for the family of 4 and their car. I thought this book was kind of cute. Several times I laughed out loud at bits. However, I'm not the intended audience. The adventure is directed at young children and I think that children would enjoy it even more than I did. There's lots of action and I think it could be suspenseful for Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a magical car. It can do things that other cars cannot, which is very fortunate for the family that purchases it. The book is one big adventure for the family of 4 and their car. I thought this book was kind of cute. Several times I laughed out loud at bits. However, I'm not the intended audience. The adventure is directed at young children and I think that children would enjoy it even more than I did. There's lots of action and I think it could be suspenseful for younger kids. Final Score: This book is filled with a bit of humor and lots of adventure. I think it would be a great book for elementary school kids. 3✭

  16. 4 out of 5

    Clay Davis

    The story in this book is a gift to the young and young at heart.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Josiah

    In his time, Ian Fleming was one of the edgiest popular authors on the scene. After five acclaimed James Bond novels beginning with Casino Royale in 1953, 007's propensity for morally loose living caught up with his author. Critics questioned James Bond's validity as role model to young men caught up in the romance of the super-spy lifestyle, and started consistently panning Fleming's work as a bad influence. Partly due to the stress of a legal case surrounding his latest James Bond offering, In his time, Ian Fleming was one of the edgiest popular authors on the scene. After five acclaimed James Bond novels beginning with Casino Royale in 1953, 007's propensity for morally loose living caught up with his author. Critics questioned James Bond's validity as role model to young men caught up in the romance of the super-spy lifestyle, and started consistently panning Fleming's work as a bad influence. Partly due to the stress of a legal case surrounding his latest James Bond offering, Ian Fleming suffered a series of heart attacks and died in 1964, but not before penning a novella unlike any he'd written, a children's book based on the ongoing bedtime story he used to tell his son Caspar. Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang was released two months after Fleming's death, and for critics who couldn't buy into his greatness as creator of a legendary spy who would make cinematic history for untold decades, there was more to consider: this cheerful book about a family that sticks together no matter what and doesn't take life for granted. When you have a chance for adventure, you take it, and that's how the Potts cross paths with an enchanted car that changes their lives. Just as James Bond became a staple of the silver screen, Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang was adapted into a major motion picture, in 1968. Theatergoers warmly received the British musical starring Dick Van Dyke, and Ian Fleming posthumously branded his name in pop culture nearly as much for it as for James Bond. I wonder if he had any inkling how beloved Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang would be. Former Royal Navy commander Caractacus Pott earns a substantial monetary windfall when he invents a musical novelty gumball. The candy is an immediate hit with his eight-year-old twins, Jeremy and Jemima, and a sweets company pays top dollar to secure the rights to manufacture it. Pott decides this largesse calls for a treat for the whole family, and buys a fixer-upper automobile to see what can be made of her. Commander Pott works for weeks on the old wreck, but when he's finished, his family can scarcely believe the transformation. The car is beautiful: clean chrome exterior, soft red leather upholstery, and dozens of functional buttons and knobs, so many that Commander Pott has yet to learn the purpose of them all. Commander and Mrs. (Mimsie) Pott and the twins take off in the vehicle, which Jeremy cleverly dubs CHITTY-CHITTY-BANG-BANG for the sounds that erupt from the tailpipe when it starts. CHITTY-CHITTY-BANG-BANG is no normal car, as Commander Pott realized when he restored her. There's an undeniable magic to her, which becomes blatantly obvious when she sprouts wings and soars through the air like a plane. The Potts could go on the biggest adventure in the world in a car like this. But, but, but! And once again, but!! Even a supernatural vehicle can't bestow immortality on its passengers, and the Potts get into trouble when they stumble upon the hideout of a notorious gang in a cave near the English Channel. Fearsome Joe the Monster and his mobster minions won't let the Potts off easy for interfering with their business, and when Jeremy and Jemima get separated from their parents, it's up to CHITTY-CHITTY-BANG-BANG to keep the exciting adventure from ending tragically. Will the Potts mourn the day they ran afoul of Joe the Monster...or will he regret crossing them? It's easy to tell that Ian Fleming had limited experience telling stories for kids, but Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang has a lot going for it. The sense of humor is fresh, mischievous, and surprising, the book's best asset. CHITTY-CHITTY-BANG-BANG, herself, cops an attitude when she thinks the Potts are slow on the uptake. There are also lessons to learn from the story, like how the Potts come to possess CHITTY-CHITTY-BANG-BANG. The car is a disaster when first they see her, a run-down pile of parts that appears beyond salvaging. The family could have walked away and purchased another automobile with their gumball money, but that car wouldn't have had magic in it, and the story would have ended there. Because Commander Pott was willing to put in the effort, because he saw more in CHITTY-CHITTY-BANG-BANG than its beat-up exterior and he worked hard to heal her, the magical car returned his investment a thousandfold, maybe more. There's no sweeter reward than believing in someone and having that faith validated. But perhaps Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang's enduring message is Commander Pott's admonishment to his family when they hesitate before plunging into the epic adventure on their horizon. "That's no way to treat adventures. Never say 'no' to adventures. Always say 'yes,' otherwise you'll lead a very dull life." There's truth in that, I know. We'd be advantaged to hear Commander Pott's words echo in our minds when tempted to take the safe route too often. One only has so many opportunities for adventure in a magical car, and they're too precious to squander. Ian Fleming's most read books are Casino Royale, Goldfinger, Doctor No, and other James Bond classics. Popular as it was on page and screen, Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang will likely never eclipse those novels to be considered Fleming's signature work, and that's probably only right. There's much deeper and more challenging kid lit out there. I'd give Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang one and a half stars, though, and I'm going to round it up to two by the slightest of margins. Everyone who enjoys the movie should read this at least once. I'm glad Ian Fleming bequeathed at least one children's story to the world; his legacy is significant, and it won't fade as long as James Bond and Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang find their way into the hands of readers. May that always be the case.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Chris

    I watched the movie Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang as a child and have vaguely fun and yet confusing memories of it. To this day I still find some of the tunes from the movie jumping into my head at random. Years later I was told that the original book Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang was written by Ian Fleming...yes, the same Ian Fleming who was the creator of James Bond. Naturally my curiosity was aroused. From a very high level, it's not surprising to see both James Bond and Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang as being I watched the movie Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang as a child and have vaguely fun and yet confusing memories of it. To this day I still find some of the tunes from the movie jumping into my head at random. Years later I was told that the original book Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang was written by Ian Fleming...yes, the same Ian Fleming who was the creator of James Bond. Naturally my curiosity was aroused. From a very high level, it's not surprising to see both James Bond and Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang as being creations of the same author. Both feature some crazy high-tech gadgets and exciting adventures dealing with spies or thugs across multiple countries. Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang is just written for children while James Bond was written for adults. I read Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang along with my 9 year old daughter. I haven't seen the movie in many years. She watched it a few months ago. As we started reading, it was quickly apparent some of the differences between the movie and the novel. Strangely enough, after the movie was released and widely enjoyed, they decided to make a "novelization" of the movie version of the story...which goes to show the large amount of differences present. They couldn't simply push film-goers towards the original novel...they actually wrote a new novel based on the film. Strange fun indeed. As to the original book of Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang: The Magical Car, it starts off introducing us to Caractacus Pott and his family. Caractacus is an inventor who loves to invent but doesn't always find much financial success as a result. His wife and two children are very supportive and they enjoy his quirks and fun almost as much as he does. As in the movie, Caractacus invents the "Toot Sweet" and sells it to a candy shop. He has more success in the book, however, and with the money he earns, the family decides to buy a car. They find Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang in a scrapyard and immediately all four of them fall in love with it. Pott takes it home and spends hours/days in his workshop fixing it up. I loved the narrative style of the book. It was written to be read aloud or at least for the reader to be very cognizant of the narrator's voice. The narrator speaks to the reader, adds additional commentary outside the scope of the main plot and asks questions about the reader's knowledge or thoughts on a particular point. As I read the book aloud to my daughter, I tried to be sure to add the inflections of the narrator as I read to try and draw her in to answering the questions or commenting on the points the narrator made. In reading the book I pictured the narrator as an extension of Ian Fleming and the style existing to put for the feeling of Fleming reading the story to his own children. As the plot continues, the family finds out more about the very special and magical qualities of Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang. Not only does the car possess special transformative properties (changing into a boat or a plane) but it also seems to have a true mind of its own. It seems to think and feel. And it certainly seems to recognize and love its new family. The family head off on what should be a simple and fun family picnic at the beach. But after traffic jams, bad turns, rising tides and bad weather, they find themselves lost and on the verge of new trouble as the family stumbles into a gangster hideout. I loved the sense of adventure mixed with the nervous anxiety of wondering just what might happen next. I love the reckless and whimsical attitude of the father as he disregards the danger when forced to choose between making a safe choice or making the right choice...the "good" choice. As the adventure continues, the children find themselves in the thick of it. And in true "children's literature" style, they do whatever they can to solve the problems on their own and be the heroes of the story. At the same time, the book is titled "Chitty-Chitty-Bang-Bang" so it's only natural that the car should also share in the heroics (with the aid of his adult drivers). The edition I read had some cute, whimsical illustrations. I'm told that the original publication (and early reprints) had tons of absolutely wonderful illustrations. I certainly can't discount the fun pictures in the version I read, but I am interested in finding some of the original illustrations, just for enjoyment sake. My daughter loved keeping an eye out for the pictures and made sure I paused and gave her time to study the images intently when they showed up. All in all this is a simple story and a quick read, which is what should be expected from a children's book. In some ways it's a little dated since some of the concepts and technology are obsolete or incredibly improved in our modern day. Still, it is a very clever and fun story with a lot of ingenuity and imagination. The plot is fresh and fun and definitely enjoyable to younger readers and to adults willing to step back into simpler memories. The thugs and gangsters are definite caricatures and as such it's hard to have any real fear for the safety of the family. Though to a child, just the idea of a gangster or criminal poses enough danger to give the proper degree of tension. The story is absolutely charming. The narrative writing style is very fun and lovable. The characters are great fun and the lessons learned are entertaining. Overall this is a great heartfelt story that is worth reading with kids and reading again as an adult. Even if you've seen the movie, this book is different enough that you should find plenty of new entertainment. And if you haven't seen the movie, that's another avenue to explore after reading the book. Either way, there's plenty of opportunity for good clean family fun. **** 4 out of 5 stars

  19. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    The Pott family takes a trip to France after Commander Pott restores an old car with seemingly magical powers. The adventures appeal to young readers. The books makes a great read-aloud. However, I think I will always prefer the film starring Dick Van Dyke. I pictured it as I read the book, even when the plot differs.

  20. 5 out of 5

    C-shaw

    Very cute story. "The children, in fact the whole family, sat on the tips of their behinds, if you see what I mean, and waited excitedly to see what would happen." Ha ha! "'Stone the crows! There's a perishing motor-car overhead!'" Great expletive, that. "rumbustious children" Great adjective not used in the States.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Summer

    This was so much fun!! And Fleming's writing style in this felt surprisingly Dickensian, so I also loved that aspect of this book.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Dawn Michelle

    What a completely delightful adventure!! I have seen the movie [at least once] and to be honest, I remember little about it except the song and that Dick van Dyke is in it, so this little book was not ruined for me by a previous movie viewing. In fact, when I started listening, I thought I would go ahead and watch the movie after I got done and have decided that I do not want to do that - I want my memory to be of this delightful book, read by the amazing David Tenant [WHAT a fabulous narrator he What a completely delightful adventure!! I have seen the movie [at least once] and to be honest, I remember little about it except the song and that Dick van Dyke is in it, so this little book was not ruined for me by a previous movie viewing. In fact, when I started listening, I thought I would go ahead and watch the movie after I got done and have decided that I do not want to do that - I want my memory to be of this delightful book, read by the amazing David Tenant [WHAT a fabulous narrator he is]. It really was a delightful story. ****SIDE NOTE**** IF you are listening to the David Tenant version, make sure you listen to the little interview at the end [after the secret recipe]. THAT is a fun little interview that shows just how charming Mr. Tenant is.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Glenn Whelan

    Fun with our fine four fendered friend... Most people that would be reading this book today are familiar with the Dick Van Dyke vehicle of the same name. A smaller percentage of them may also be aware that the source material is originally penned by James Bond author Ian Fleming. The connection to 007 seems a logical one. A flying car with super gadgets called upon at the press of a button. Who else but James bond could have a relationship with a woman named Truly Scrumptious. After a quick read Fun with our fine four fendered friend... Most people that would be reading this book today are familiar with the Dick Van Dyke vehicle of the same name. A smaller percentage of them may also be aware that the source material is originally penned by James Bond author Ian Fleming. The connection to 007 seems a logical one. A flying car with super gadgets called upon at the press of a button. Who else but James bond could have a relationship with a woman named Truly Scrumptious. After a quick read of the children's book, the James Bond film connections say more about the films sharing Albert "Cubby" Broccoli as producer. Gone are the super-villains lair and his evil henchman, the child catcher. Truly Scrumptious is nowhere to be found. In fact, the whole nation of Vulgaria and its strict no-children policy are missing. Maybe the largest void is the films catchy songs by the Sherman Brothers, but any reader can provide that soundtrack in their imagination. The book itself is a quick read. In one sitting, you meet Caractacus "Crack" Potts and his happy family. They buy a dilapidated jalopy, each seeing its incredible potential that others would overlook. After the vehicle is restored, it takes its new family on a magical, flying adventure. Unfortunately, it also introduces the family to Joe the Monster, a "gangster" that is up to no good. Don't worry, about 10 pages later, that villain is off the streets and your families are again safe for your own flying car adventure. With the possible exception of children who are really interested in restoring old cars, this story has become a quaint reminder of the past. In what may be the most difficult sentence I have ever written, "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" is no "Lightning McQueen".

  24. 4 out of 5

    Lark of The Bookwyrm's Hoard

    A charming, whimsical children's adventure! If you've seen the movie, the book is very different; the only real constants are the children and their father (though their mother is still with them in the book), and of course Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the eponymous magical flying car. I don't want to give anything away, but don't expect a Bavarian kingdom; that part of the movie is the creation of the screenwriters, not Ian Fleming. The adventures the family does have in the book are slightly more A charming, whimsical children's adventure! If you've seen the movie, the book is very different; the only real constants are the children and their father (though their mother is still with them in the book), and of course Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the eponymous magical flying car. I don't want to give anything away, but don't expect a Bavarian kingdom; that part of the movie is the creation of the screenwriters, not Ian Fleming. The adventures the family does have in the book are slightly more grounded in reality—but only slightly! The audiobook is narrated by David Tennant, who reads with obvious enjoyment and an excellent command of voices and accents. Between the text and the narration, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a perfect audiobook for young children, and a treat for the whole family. It's short, only 2 hours and 22 minutes in length, making it an excellent choice for a day trip. Read for #TakeControlTBR 2018 and The Backlist Reader Challenge 2018.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Abigail

    This book made me soooo happy! "Never say 'no' to adventures. Always say 'yes', otherwise you'll lead a very dull life."

  26. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    We listened to this on a family road trip, and David Tennant's narration was delightful. Seriously, his narration made this story leap into our imaginations. I am familiar with the classic (and somewhat creepy) movie adaption of this story, but I have never read the story. I have to say that I enjoyed the actual story in this book better than the movie, although there were fun things in the movie that were nice as well. This is a super short audio book, but it is tons of fun and very We listened to this on a family road trip, and David Tennant's narration was delightful. Seriously, his narration made this story leap into our imaginations. I am familiar with the classic (and somewhat creepy) movie adaption of this story, but I have never read the story. I have to say that I enjoyed the actual story in this book better than the movie, although there were fun things in the movie that were nice as well. This is a super short audio book, but it is tons of fun and very imaginative. It was the perfect length for a family drive, and it kept all of us, adults and children, entertained the entire time. I'm not sure if it would have been as wonderful to actually read the book, but I highly recommend David Tennant's narration. Five stars.

  27. 5 out of 5

    David

    I have long loved the movie starring Dick Van Dyke, but I realized I had never read the original novel by Ian Fleming. This is one of those books that I liked better than the movie -- not because there were more details but because the plot was simpler and more straightforward. In the book, Commander Caractacus Pott earns money for his family to buy a motor car by inventing a whistling sweet. They search high and low for the perfect car and finally buy an almost-one-of-a-kind racer which the I have long loved the movie starring Dick Van Dyke, but I realized I had never read the original novel by Ian Fleming. This is one of those books that I liked better than the movie -- not because there were more details but because the plot was simpler and more straightforward. In the book, Commander Caractacus Pott earns money for his family to buy a motor car by inventing a whistling sweet. They search high and low for the perfect car and finally buy an almost-one-of-a-kind racer which the good inventor modifies. However, the car turns out to have something of a life of its own and becomes a member of the family. In the middle of a family outing, they get caught up in the nefarious activities of an international crime gang. It's very much a kid's adventure with a touch of James Bond suspense -- secret crime lair included for good measure. In the movie, it's suggested that Chitty's magic is all part of a dream (much like the cinematic Wizard of Oz). What I liked best about the book is that Chitty is an unapologetically magic car brought to life through the power of love.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Trike

    I tend not to like fiction audiobooks because my mind wanders as the reader drones on, but this was exceptional. The narrator, Andrew Sachs, was brilliant. If every audiobook were read like this, with such charm, enthusiasm and obvious delight, Id listen to more of them. Absolutely entertaining, start to finish. As for the story itself, it is much less terrifying than the film and far lower stakes. Despite the ominous intonations that the Pott family was frequently in morrrtall dangerrr, one I tend not to like fiction audiobooks because my mind wanders as the reader drones on, but this was exceptional. The narrator, Andrew Sachs, was brilliant. If every audiobook were read like this, with such charm, enthusiasm and obvious delight, I’d listen to more of them. Absolutely entertaining, start to finish. As for the story itself, it is much less terrifying than the film and far lower stakes. Despite the ominous intonations that the Pott family was frequently in “morrrtall dangerrr”, one never feels they are, really. Since this is a children’s book, that strikes just the right balance. It’s thrilling without being overly scary. The film did carry over many of the key elements, but the addition of the child snatcher was a bridge too far, in my opinion. In this book the kids, Jeremy and Jemima, are far more active and clever. Again, as a children’s book should. As with all Fleming stories, the woman gets short shrift, as Truly Scrumptious has very little to do other than to exclaim in fear or delight. The 60s were a tad more sexist, after all. That said, a couple times throughout the story Fleming does underscore the fact that mothers are generally correct when they lecture children about the dangers of the world. So it’s not a total loss. All in all, though, I really enjoyed this. I see that someone has put this up on YouTube, so if you have kids, you might consider playing it for them.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Fight*Censorship*In*ALL*Forms

    Once again I find out that a movie from my childhood is nothing like the book. This book was nicely written and I enjoyed the tone of the narration but it is so vastly different from the movie that I was left disappointed. The movie is fantastically whimsical and magical. The book is not. In the first half of the book it seems like we are going to get magic and whimsy with the Scrumptious whistle sweets that Caractacus Potts invents and the cheeky flying car. However, the book then takes on more Once again I find out that a movie from my childhood is nothing like the book. This book was nicely written and I enjoyed the tone of the narration but it is so vastly different from the movie that I was left disappointed. The movie is fantastically whimsical and magical. The book is not. In the first half of the book it seems like we are going to get magic and whimsy with the Scrumptious whistle sweets that Caractacus Potts invents and the cheeky flying car. However, the book then takes on more of a crime thriller story line that was rushed and a little boring. I wonder how I would have reacted to this book if I had not seen the film but I can imagine that lovers of the book must have died when the film came out in 1968. In the movie Dick Van Dyke is a wonderful lovable crackpot not the stern British Navy man we get in the book. In the movie they have killed off the children's mother Mimsy and add a love interest, Truly Scrumptious. They also give the children a grandfather who is a British Navy man who adds great comic relief. The movie musical is very dear to my heart and a part of my childhood, each time I watch it I am transported back in time. Sorry to say but to me this time the movie was WAY better than the book.

  30. 5 out of 5

    Colin Kinlund

    Another classic I treasured, and another Disney adaptation I loathed. The movie is similar to the book in that there is a car with the given name of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. In fairness though, this is a very short story, with only three chapters (each fairly long chapter being one act), and would have been very difficult to do as a movie. But still, this is vastly more entertaining, inventive and scary than the movie. And I still want a toot-sweet to this day.

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