Somehow in my life, I had not watched the movie, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Recently, I tried to watch the movie. Note the word tried. It was not a good experience. I got halfway through the movie and stopped. Dick Van Dyke just annoyed me, and the story seemed a bit disjointed to me. So I gave up on it. However, my husband said that the movie was one of his favorites as a child, and he said that he particularly loved the book. Well, I was hesitant to read the book because of the movie, but he assured me that the book, in his memory, was much better than the movie. I broke down and got the book from the local library. I had, of course, read the James Bond books, but I wondered how Ian Fleming would do with a children’s book.
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the book, was very good. It was not at all like the movie. Well, I supposed I shouldn’t say that because the basic premise of the magic car is in the book and the movie. In the book, the Potts were a family with father, mother, and two children. The father was Commander Caractacus Pott, the mother was Mimsie, and the twins were Jeremy and Jemima. Commander Pott was an inventor and explorer, and he developed the whistling candy, and the recipe was sold to a candy maker so the family could buy a car. The family fell in love with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Commander Pott rebuilt her, and the family went on adventures with the car. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang could fly and sail on the water.
I loved the book! The adventures were fun, and I found myself falling in love with the characters and the car. I was sad to finish the book, because I knew that Fleming died shortly after the book was published, so there could be no further stories of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. Of course, I did look, and others have continued stories with the characters, but I’m sure that it would just not be the same. My recommendation: pass up the movie, read the book, and sing the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang song as you read.