Most helpful critical review
9 of 11 people found the following review helpful
HUMOR IN HIGH GEAR!
on June 23, 1998
This book is perfect for your summer Escape into pure Fantasy--KID LITE enough to fly!!! This is a very special car--one of a kind both in chassis and heart--not to mention that it actually thinks, has feelings and gives orders to the driver when necessary. Yet totally unselfish--only with the owner's best interests in mind.
This almost-defunct car which barely missed the wrecker yard shows its gratitude to the Pott family many times over, for she possesses Super-Mechanical powers which no one suspects. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (so named because of her unique starting up sounds) can even fly (just call her Aerocar) and hover over water with ease. Plus she knows when to give instructions (pull down, push up) to the driver, who admits that even he does not know what all the buttons on the dash do. When ignored, she flashes hints like "Idiot!", ensuring immediate results and prompt obedience. She even has built-in radar to track missing persons (she cares about).
One day Professor Caractacus (Crackpot) Pott finally invents something clever--a candy whistle--which he sells for enough British pounds to buy his dream car. After spending most of the summer tinkering and refurbishing the rare Panther, he unveils the automotive marvel to his adoring family: trembly Mrs. Pott (Mimsie) and the twins, Jeremy and Jemima. Chitty takes charge of their summer adventures from then on, obligingly transporting them to their own private beach when the coastal road is gridlocked--a distant sandbar no less. Barely escaping the encroaching tide, the car whisks them across the Channel to France, where they discover a cave which has mysterious warnings to would-be explorers. What secrets lie buried beneath the chalky cliffs? Possibly treasure?
This action-packed fantasy reads swiftly; chidlren will enjoy the way the twins outwit the badguys. Amidst all the humor and high-jinks Fleming offers pieces of scientific information gleaned during his career. He includes advice about the need for flotation de! vices in boats and other safety suggestions, but he slips them in slyly, like a spoonful of sugar to help the medicine go down. A cute story (though my paperback version had disappointing b/w sketches) which will entertain elementary kids--a great summer read. Honk if you like kid and car heroism!