Author: Ian Fleming
First Published: 1964
Page Count: 153
Film/ TV Adaptation: Yes*
Rating: 5/5 Stars
Fleming, the creator of the famous James Bond character, is also the brains behind a delightful children’s story reminiscent of childhood favorites by the likes of Roald Dahl.
*Magical story *Perfect children’s book
*Unrealistic plot twists
“I can’t control her, she’s taken off. Where in heavens is she taking us?” A quirky British family come into possession of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, a car that seems to have a mind of its own. Before they know it, the family is taken on a wild adventure that lands them in hot water with some dangerous gangsters. It’s soon up to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang to save the twin children from having to assist the gangsters in their next heinous heist.
Ian Fleming floors me. He had a killer work ethic when it came to writing, he’s pumped out one of the most legendary characters in film and literature’s history, and he wrote a delightful children’s book. The childish pictures that accompany the book and the simple, yet magical storyline left me with a feeling of deja vu; it was very reminiscent of any of the charming Roald Dahl books I read in elementary school except it has a very British feel which makes it feel…classy….smart? The British influence in the language and the way Fleming seemed to teach the reader various things along the way in a quaint, unobtrusive way made this book appear a little more clever than the average children’s book. Add this all together and you’ve got a great children’s book, one that I know I would’ve loved to read. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang captures your heart and the family feels like your own. It’s a fanciful story that really surprised me considering I didn’t like the movie when I was younger (there were no princesses in it, so really it didn’t have a chance but I digress).
Now, I realize that a magical flying car that also transforms into a boat is clearly an unrealistic plot, but that is not what I’m referring to with the one negative I had with the book. The car is a magical “being” so you give the author some liberties on what it can do, but some of its abilities seemed a little far-fetched. The actions of the gangsters and the children of the family also didn’t seem realistic given the resources or lack thereof at their fingertips. You’ll have to read it to see what I mean, but trust me, some of the plot seemed to have holes.
This book is definitely a classic and it’s really cute if you’re interested in checking it out. I can’t believe this book isn’t a bigger part of the collection that kids are exposed to in school – at least it wasn’t when I was little. It’d be a great introduction to a huge author in the literary world. Either way, I was very impressed that Fleming could go from sleuthing plots to magical cars in such a smooth leap with his books.
*Film Adaptations: (Starring Dick Van Dyke 1968)