Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Ian Fleming. 1964*. Random House. 160 pages

Most motorcars are conglomerations (this is a long word for bundles) of steel and wire and rubber and plastic, and electricity and oil and gasoline and water, and the toffee papers you pushed down the crack in the backseat last Sunday.

This is a children's book about a magical car named Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. It stars an eccentric family by the name of Pott. Commander Caractacus Pott (explorer, inventor), his wife, Mimsie, and their eight-year-old twins Jeremy and Jemima. After selling his Crackpot Whistling Candies to the Skrumshus candy factory, the family has enough money to buy a car. They could have bought any car--they certainly were rich enough now--but Commander Pott wanted a special car, a unique car, so he bought one that would take some work. He bought the car that would become Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Owning this car will lead to a few adventures.

How does the book compare with the movie? Well, they have very little in common. For example, they take poor Mimsie out all together and add in a 'Truly Scrumptious' who will ultimately prove the love interest to this lonely not-so-old widower. Now was that very nice to kill off the poor kids' mother? (Grandpa is also a movie addition.) Besides changing characters, the movie also changes plenty when it comes to the plot, the story. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang does transform into a boat and plane (when necessary) and there is promise of so much more in the book as to what it could do. It's truly a magical car in the book. With a mind of its own. In the movie, the "magical" aspects are really just found in the story-sequence. I have a few little problems with the story-sequence in the movie.**

I liked the book a bit better than the movie.

I read this book for the Read the Book, See the Movie challenge.

*This edition published 2003, the new cover art is by Brian Selznick. The inside illustrations are by Ian Cunliffe.
**Like the fact that Caractacus Potts is telling this story. And he conveniently writes in a love song for Truly to sing about how much she loves him.

© Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Katie Edwards said...

I have never read the book of this but have glanced through it in a bookstore and was very surprised to see how little I recognised. I have to agree that the "Lovely lonely man" song does not fit in a story that Pott(s) is telling to his children - and the lady who is supposed to be singing it. That would surely cause a lot of embarrassment?

Brittanie said...

When I worked in a daycare with kindergarten students they loved this movie. We watched it multiple times. I did not know there was a book though. :)

Alyssa F said...

I actually didn't like this book much, but I think that it is because the movie is so beloved to me. I grew up with it, so it's one of those "I'm blind to it's faults things" I guess.