Once upon a time there was a young boy named Jonathan Terrington. He didn't have any magical abilities save for the power of his imagination and what he could gain from reading and watching incredible movies. Some of his favourite childhood movies and books were all fairytales. He particularly liked more modern 'fairytales' like Toy Story or Mulan. Then one day he discovered a fairytale movie he'd never watched before. A movie about a magical car that travelled away to a fascinating land with bizarre characters. Jonathan particularly remembered the dreaded child-catcher from this movie. Years passed and Jonathan retained his love of fairytales. Then it reached the start of 2013 and it so happened that Jonathan owed his grandmother an outing to a special musical. It so happened that a musical about a flying car was to be help in Melbourne in March. So Jonathan decided that he would go and see this musical with his grandmother. And as a reminder, he decided to read the book associated with the musical. A classic children's fiction book called
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. What follows next is the review of his reading of this book.
Ian Fleming is one of those classic writers whose works seem to be always better remembered for their film adaptations than their original novel form. Which is a shame because his novels are classic in their own right. Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
may not be quite what I was expecting based on the classic musical film but it was a decent solid children's fiction novel and deserves to be considered as one of those classic 'modern' fairytales alongside [b:Charlie and the Chocolate Factory|6310|Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Charlie Bucket, #1)|Roald Dahl|http://d.gr-assets.com/books/1309211401s/6310.jpg|2765786].
The book was not quite what I expected. It was a simple children's book with hardly special writing and very little to mark it as connected to the film I remembered. The one thing I can say is that the book started the same as the film and then diverged into something different. Not a bad kind of different but not a great kind of different. An endearing kind of different.
I will admit that unfortunately the writing of Ian Flemming comes across as a touch patronising for the reader. His asides, while charming, also had the air of a writer who was superior in his knowledge to his target audience. Which doesn't surprise me since Ian Flemming was, I believe, a touch arrogant and a known chauvinistic womaniser. It is something that has come to my attention recently in children's literature. That that literature will err on the side of simplicity (not necessarily bad) or shoddyness (which is bad) on the excuse that it's just children's literature and that children can't tell what a good story is. Well I can tell you that linguistic research indicates that children know a lot more than they can communicate from a young age. And personal experience has shown me that the children's books I best remember are those that can be read at any age.
Still, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang
despite its flaws as a novel has an interesting story. It is certainly a classic story and a unusual, original story in some ways. Recommended for those who want to see the real Chitty Chitty Bang Bang