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The second book in Ian Fleming’s children’s classic, Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The flying, floating, driving-by-itself automobile that takes the Pott family on a riotous series of adventures as they try to capture a notorious gang of robbers. This is a story filled with humor, adventure, and gadgetry that only a genius like Fleming could create. The 1968 movie of the same name, starring Dick Van Dyke, was based loosely on these stories.
36 pages, with a reading time of ~0.75 hours (9,230 words), and first published in 1964. This DRM-Free edition published by epubBooks, 2016.
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Before we begin on the further adventures of our magical car, I must remind you of where we got to in Adventure Number One.
There was this rather nice and adventurous family called Pott–Commander Caractacus Pott, father, Mimsie Pott, mother, and the twins, Jeremy and Jemima Pott. They didn’t have much money, but Commander Pott, who was an inventor and explorer, invented the Crackpot Whistling Sweet, which, because it had two holes cleverly drilled through it, made a wonderful whistling noise when, after sucking it, you blew down the holes. He sold the invention to the famous Skrumshus sweet firm and with the money bought the wreck of a famous old racing-car, the twelve-cylinder, eight-litre Paragon Panther, long and low and painted in England’s racing colours, which are bright green. And, by the time Jeremy and Jemima had come back from their summer term, Commander Pott had worked and worked on the wreck until it was as good as new and perhaps the most beautiful car in the world. But, besides some inventions of his own, there were a lot of knobs and levers and winking lights on the dashboard which remained a mystery even to Commander Pott.
The whole family set off for the seaside near Dover in the gleaming new car, but they soon ran into long queues of cars going the same way, and it was then that CHITTY-CHITTY-BANG-BANG, which was what they had christened the car because of the extraordinary noises she made when she started up, suddenly developed wings and a propeller and took to the air. Yes, that’s right, she flew just like an aeroplane, using her mudguards as wings and her radiator fan as a propeller.
They got to the coast, but all the beaches were covered with other holiday-makers, so CHITTY-CHITTY-BANG-BANG flew the family out to the famous Goodwin Sands in the middle of the English Channel and landed them gently there so that they could all have a wonderful paddle and swim and a hunt among the old wrecks of ships that have been shipwrecked on these dangerous sands. After their bathe and a delicious picnic, the whole family dozed off for a little after-lunch rest, and they didn’t notice that the tide was slowly creeping up on its way to covering the Goodwin Sands completely. And now the Pott family and CHITTY-CHITTY-BANG-BANG are IN MORTAL DANGER! That’s how we left them at the end of the Adventure Number One, and the situation, with them and CHITTY-CHITTY-BANG-BANG marooned on the Goodwin Sands in the middle of the English Channel, is enough to frighten you–and them, except that they are all fast asleep, dozing in the sun–_out of your and their wits_!
To make matters worse, one of those summer mists came creeping across the sea, hiding the family and their magical car from the Goodwin Lightship, which lies anchored some way to the south of the Goodwins. To warn them and all shipping of the terrible danger of the sands, the lightship began sounding its great fog-horn, which is one of the loudest in the world, and blinking its dazzling white danger light.
It was CHITTY-CHITTY-BANG-BANG who first woke up to the danger. You see, she had got very hot flying out to the sands and sitting in the sunshine, and as the sea came creeping up, glug-glugging in the hulls of the wrecks and whispering softly over the flat sand, the water gradually submerged the wheels of CHITTY-CHITTY-BANG-BANG. When it reached the bottom of her radiator she let out a loud warning hiss from the hot metal.
The family opened dozy eyes and then at once they were all on their feet and Commander Pott was running to the car. He jumped in and pressed the self-starter, and with a quick “CHITTY! CHITTY! BANG! BANG!” of relief the big car, spinning her wheels in the wet sand so that the spray flew, crept up out of the incoming tide and was steered by Commander Pott up on to the dry centre of the rapidly diminishing sandbank where the rest of the family was waiting.
“Quick! Jump in!” he shouted. “We’ve just got room to take off.” But as Jeremy and Jemima piled into the back seats and Mimsie got in front, already the first little waves had run up the flat sands after them and the bottoms of the tyres were awash again.
“My goodness!” said Commander Pott anxiously. “Now we’ve had it! CHITTY-CHITTY-BANG-BANG can never get up enough speed to take off through the water. The only hope is that the lightship will realize the trouble we’re in and send their rescue boat for us. But that’ll mean leaving poor CHITTY-CHITTY-BANG-BANG marooned out here alone, and she’ll gradually be covered by the sea. During the night, she may easily be washed off the sands into deep water and we’ll lose her for ever!”
They all sat there gloomily as the water glugged around them and the fog thickened and there was no sign of a rescue boat. They suddenly realized that they might all be drowned out there in the middle of the English Channel.