Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
Ages 8 to 12
Random House, 2005, 0-375-83283-1
Commander Caractacus Potts is an inventor who has not, as yet, had a great deal of success with his inventions. He is a dreamer who imagines himself going on fantastic explorations and adventures and who comes up with ideas for inventions that would, if they ever were invented, be quite useless. In fact his neighbors sometimes call him “Commander Crackpott” which quite upsets the Commander as you can well imagine.
Well one day the Commander creates a really wonderful invention – a sweet that has a hole in it which can be blown through to make a pretty whistling sound. The money that he makes from the sale of his idea makes it possible for the Commander to finally buy his family a car. He and his wife and children go out to look for a car and the one that they choose is not what you might call ‘a great buy.” In fact it is a wreck but the Commander gets to work on the car and his efforts are quite astounding. Now the Potts have a car which is truly beautiful and which is also, as they soon discover, quite magical. The car – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang – has abilities that even Commander Potts knows nothing about.
In not time the Potts are having adventures of the kind that even the Commander could not have dreamed up and their car continues to astonish and delight her new owners.
In a wonderfully easy-going and chatty style, Ian Fleming tells his story beautifully. He addresses his reader throughout the story making it feel as if he, Ian Fleming, is talking directly to you and you alone. One minute you are reading a book and the next Ian seems to be talking to you himself, inviting you to voice your thoughts and opinions. In no time at all the reader feels as if he or she is practically part of the family and as if he or she is sitting in the back seat with the Potts children flying high in the sky over the English Channel.
This delightful adventure story has stood the test of time very well since its publication in 1964 and it still offers its readers an adventure like none other.
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