cover image Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again

Frank Cottrell Boyce, illus. by Joe Berger. Candlewick, $15.99 (224p) ISBN 978-0-7636-5957-8

Sir Ian Fleming’s heirs, who have commissioned numerous James Bond sequels, turned to Boyce (Cosmic) to continue Fleming’s 1964 story Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car, and Boyce delivers: this follow-up outshines the original. The only returning character is the car, and the book’s spirit (surreal craziness) is much closer to Roald Dahl’s 1968 screenplay than it is to Fleming’s novel. In place of Caractacus Potts and Co. are the Tootings, a modern, multiracial family with three children—Goth Lucy, practical Jem, and baby Harry. After Tom Tooting loses his job, his wife buys him a broken-down camper van, which he and Jem renovate, unknowingly fitting it with an engine from Count Zborowski’s famous racecar. Adventures ensue as the van takes the Tootings around the world to collect the rest of its lost parts; the story doesn’t end so much as set up the next installment. Berger adds comical artwork—he even sneaks in a diagram of Bond’s Aston Martin—creating a Chitty that any kid would be thrilled to own. This first volume in a planned trilogy is hilarious and endlessly entertaining. Ages 9–12. Agent: Zoe Pagnamenta, the Zoe Pagnamenta Agency. (Mar.)