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on January 8, 2005
...I was so angry when I saw this new version that I sent off a letter to Random House, which I'll copy here since it clearly states my issue with the "new" version (and I also highly recommend that if you intend to purchase this book you find an "old" copy from the 60's):To Random House-I recently bought a few books I fondly remembered from my own childhood so I could introduce my friend's 9 year old grandson to some timeless classics. One of these books was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. When the copy I ordered from arrived I open the package in breathless anticipation only to quickly descend into horrified shock at what I saw before me. The beautifully illustrated book I so fondly remembered was gone and in its place was paper with print, a hard cover, and a few pathetic, poorly drawn cartoons that serve only to disfigure, in an unimaginable and horrific travesty of art sense, what was once a gloriously illustrated treasure....The beautiful, original John Burningham illustrations were an integral and ***irreplaceable*** part of this book and without them you've destroyed what was a perfect marriage of art and story. ... This reissue is a miserable failure and a nasty insult to the readers who will never experience the true joy of what was once a perfect book...Needless to say, this "new" copy is going in the garbage and I've ordered a used copy from 1964.
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on November 29, 2011
Most films derived from books tell a story that is at least somewhat different from the book; the film of this book is even more different than most. In the book, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang has the same name, a similarly successful racing career brought to an early end by a crash, is re-built by inventor Caractapus Pott, who has children named Jeremy and Jemima, and is revealed to have magical properties, including the ability to fly. Sweets that double as tuneful whistles, and music and dance in the sweet factory also feature in both book and film, but Truly Scrumptious, the eccentric Grandfather, Baron Bomburst and Vulgaria appear only in the film. However, the children in the book do have a mother, Mimsie Pott.

The setting is England. As a first drive in Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the family set out for Dover beach, intending to picnic there. They soon meet the back of a long traffic jam. Whereupon Chitty Chitty Bang Bang reveals the first of her special features and they fly to spend a happy day picnicing and playing on a sandbank in the middle of the English Channel.

The sandbank is the notorious Goodwin Sands. Disaster almost strikes when the tide comes in, but Chitty Chitty Bang Bang gets them out of trouble, taking them to the French coast. There they discover and explore a deep cave, which proves to be an ammunition dump used by Joe the Monster and his criminal gang. I won't spoil the story by telling you all that happens, but the fast-moving tale quickly takes us to Calais and then - through Jeremy and Jemima being kidnapped and taken there - Paris.

Eventually, the story ends happily, thanks to the intelligence and gadgetry of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, the cool nerve of Jeremy and Jemima, and also to Caractacus and Mimsie Pott, who are as interesting and helpful as parents as any child could wish. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is not quite as pretty as the car seen in the film, but is cleverer and has several features not seen in the film. She also has the registration GEN 11, which Jeremy and Jemima are quick to notice spells Genii.

The book has three separate chapter-adventures. It is a good, solid read for children aged 8 to 10, or it could be read to younger children. I strongly recommend the 1968 edition, illustrated by John Burningham, but for that you will have to buy a pre-used copy. In that edition, most pages have a picture to help things along; many in color. (John Burningham is also known for Mr. Gumpy's Outing,Mr Gumpy's Motor Car,Granpa, and more.)
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My first exposure to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was the movie with Dick van Dyke. I saw this at Radio City Music Hall when I was 13 and was thoroughly entranced with the story. It wasn't until many years later, when I had a young son of my own, that I discovered the book and was enchanted all over again, even though the movie clearly diverged significantly from the book. No matter, I love them both.

I recall reading sections of the book to my son's third-grade class and the kids were delighted by a flying car with a button that lit up "Push, Idiot!". Along the way I seem to have lost that copy. I recently saw the movie again, and was prompted to obtain another copy of the book. I was very thankful for the Amazon reviewers of the 1970s paperback edition who decried the lack of the wonderful John Burmingham illustrations there. If you want the book, get this edition and share it with a child.
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on March 18, 2015
Love the movie so I rally wanted to read this book. Of course, the two are very different, but I love the story line. Having it read to me was even better! Having Dr. Who (David Tenent) read it to me was awesome!!!
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VINE VOICEon March 27, 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Like many people my first brush with Chitty Chitty Bang Bang was via the movie version, and it was only after seeing the movie that I read the book. This 2013 edition with Ian Fleming's original text and Joe Berger's illustrations might be the best print version I've seen. Joe Berger's illustrations have a graphic novel sensibility which freshens up the book for today's children adding a bit of an edge to the fairy tale quality of the book.

In reading the book to my daughter what struck me was how timeless and exciting the book's story really is. My daughter kept laughing hysterically at certain scenes in the book because Ian Fleming really knows how to tell an engaging story. If you are looking for a good book to give to a kid to read to themselves or for a book to read to kids this is an excellent choice. The illustrations and drawings interspersed throughout the book help the young reader, or listener, by amplifying the excellent story. This is one of those rare books from one's childhood that is actually as good as you remember it being.
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on July 27, 2010
Like most books that have had a movie made of them, this one is very different than the movie. Ian Fleming, who wrote the James Bond books, tried his hand at a children's book. This particular version is the Book Club edition published by Random House for the U.S. market. The story is fairly short and I will not spoil it by telling what the differences are, but trust me that the book is quite enjoyable, and very British. The charming illustrations were by John Burningham. Later editions of the book I have seen are not illustrated as well as this one.
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VINE VOICEon May 2, 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is a fun children's story from the author who brought us James Bond. The story is witty and enjoyable. Although the book shares many of the same elements as the movie, the story itself quickly diverges from the movie. That is because the story used in the film was created by author Roald Dahl, who is best known for children's books such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.

Although I enjoyed both the movie and the book, I found the storyline of the book to be better as it remained focused on the main characters who are the family and their wonderful car without the side story of Vulgaria or the courtship of Truly Scrumptious. Although the Baron, Scrumptious and the grandfather are absent from the book, the story introduces other characters who work better with the storyline including Commander Pott's wife, Mimsie.

We read the Kindle version of the book on a Kindle Paperwhite. There were small illustrations at the top of each chapter and periodically in the book. I think that the illustrations added to the quality of the book and the telling of the story.

Overall a timeless classic and certainly worth a read by all ages. The story is action packed and reads quickly.

Now if only I could get the Chitty Chitty Bang Bang song out of my head...
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on June 24, 2015
Without a doubt, one of the best childrens' books ever.

And as an adult, I just reread it, and it still one of the best, exciting books I have ever read. Mr. Fleming sure knows how to pull both young kids and adults into his world of fantasy. Yay, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang!
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VINE VOICEon April 14, 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )|Verified Purchase
Much as the original illustrations of some Roald Dahl books were re-created by different artists, this new edition of CHITTY CHITTY BANG BANG have a more accessible, more cartoonlike feel than the original ones, which I also like. The original illustrations, which I grew up with, seemed like ink washes with perhaps some photography added and have a very vivid look, just totally different in tone.

The text has been gently blended from its original two books in the UK, which were clearly delineated as such. I don't know whether Fleming would mind, since it's always seemed to fit together nicely.

If you only know the classic, beloved, excellent musical Dick Van Dyke / Sherman Brothers movie, you'll discover that the original Fleming story is smaller in scope, more intimate, with an adventure with gangsters in place of the Vulgarian empire.

I love that Frank Cottrell Boyce has written two sequels, as there are any number of a adventures that Chitty and the Potts family can encounter.
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VINE VOICEon October 17, 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is the Ultimate Magical Car, looking out for her people in all kinds of fabulous adventures.

Having never seen the movie, I was unable to make comparisons; also, I had not seen the original drawings, which have been negatively described. I cared about neither. I was just enthralled.

As would a rescued dog, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang shows her appreciation for having been rescued by the inventor, Mr. Pott. He and his wife are open-minded, lovely people who support their children's sense for fun.

This book is full of action, and great for young kids. No vampires, no bullying: just a lot of fun.

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