Recently my kids and I went on a road trip. We listened to Chitty Chitty Bang Bang on audio. What a wonderful choice! It made the last three hours of the trip totally bearable so that I hardly heard the dreaded universal question of every car trip. At one point I had to pause the CD of the story to say something, and then my 15 year old was the one to notice I was done talking and turned the story back on, because he said it was so interesting. Cliffhangers abound in this story! I love the cliffhangers, and the sound effects, the music, and the narrator. The YouTube version above is the same version we had on CD in the car.
Then there’s the movie. When I was a kid in the 80s I heard about the movie but I don’t think I ever actually watched it.
It was one of those movies that my little sisters and their friends talked about and sang about endlessly. I learned the lyrics of the theme song just from hearing them sing it so much. So I was delighted to finally delve into the book and movie myself and find out how much fun the story is. We listened to it around Father’s Day. I didn’t realize that the father in the story is a great role model so this story is perfect for discussing good fatherhood. But use the book to discuss fatherhood because it gives a lot more depth to a fatherhood ideal than the movie.
The kids watched the movie today and as usual, the book is so much better than the movie. Even though the movie is wonderfully great! The singing, the dancing, the acting are all excellent. This is one of those great classic family movies full of delightful songs to build a family culture on, like the Truly Scrumptious song. Can you imagine how a kid would feel if you sang this song to them?
Or the one below?
I think I will memorize these songs so I can break out in singing them when one of my kids is getting my ire up, to diffuse the situation, and make us laugh.
In the book, the dad and the lady friend are married, so the kids have a mom and a dad. In the movie, the mom is a lady friend, named Truly Scrumptious. The book goes into so much more about the dad and his inventions and has more background about the family and their adventures. It’s not so scary to listen to the antics of the villains than to see them in full color in front of your face. So listen to the book above and then, and only then, watch the movie for a great family movie night. But if you have especially young children, who are sensitive, you might want to hold off on the movie till they are older. The child catcher is rather creepy and might cause nightmares, like it did for my sister-in-law when she was a kid. (If the video of the audiobook no longer works, find the book on audio at your public library or over here at amazon.) If you want to learn the background of the story, read below the next video.
Ian Fleming, the same guy who wrote the James Bond stories, wrote Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, using his bedtime stories for his son Casper. The video below tells the story behind the story. It has a sad ending so don’t watch it if you are feeling sad right now. Just go watch the movie!