Through the Looking Glass Children's Book Reviews

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang

Ian Fleming
Illustrator:  Joe Berger 
For ages 8 to 12
Candlewick, 2013   ISBN: 978-0763666668

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 as you can well imagine, quite upsets the Commander .

Then one day the Commander creates a really wonderful invention - a sweet that has a hole in it which makes a pretty whistling sound when you blow on it. 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 that is truly beautiful and that 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.

Using a wonderfully easy-going and chatty style of writing, Ian Fleming tells his story beautifully. He addresses us throughout the narrative, making us  feel as if he, Ian Fleming, is talking directly to us, his readers. One minute we are reading a book and the next Ian seems to be talking to us himself, inviting us to voice our thoughts and opinions. In no time at all we feel as if we are practically part of the family. We almost feel as if we  as if we sitting in the back seat with the Potts children going on a wonderful adventure with them in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.