Recommended age: 8+

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again

by Frank Cottrell Boyce

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang is one of those stories which is familiar to everyone - the flying car, the eccentric inventor Caractacus Potts, Truly Scrumptious, the child catcher. But it's the film that's given us these iconic characters. The screenplay was written by Roald Dahl and it is quite different from the book written by Ian Fleming and illustrated by John Burningham. Or so I understand, because I haven't actually read the book.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again I read in just about one sitting. It's a brilliant book. Lovely, comic illustrations, charming characters and a gripping storyline in a world where good will triumph. It has been written Frank Cottrell Boyce, and this is the first of three books he has promised to write about the magical car. He's won numerous awards for his writing and deservedly so. I've loved 'Framed' and 'Cosmic', and still have 'Millions' to look forward to. They are great because they are funny, and the whole family is involved in the story - no angst, dark tales about orphans from him and this is refreshing in its own right.

In this story, we meet a family called the Tootings. Dad has just announced that he has been laid off from his job at Very Small Parts for Very Big Machines, because his fingers are too large. But he's not going to let this get him down. Instead he decides to restore a dilapidated camper van and use it to take his family to all the places they've always wanted to go - Paris, Cairo, the dinosaurs (suggested by Little Harry, the youngest). While he searches for a spark plug at a scrapyard, Dad discovers a discarded engine. He installs this in the camper van, and they're off. They soon discover that the van has a distinct personality and determines for itself which route they are going to take. And so the adventure begins!

This is a book you'll want to read again and again. Each time there will be something new to make you smile. I particularly enjoyed the description of the teenage daughter, Lucy. Dad thought she was holed up her black bedroom painting her nails and hooked on Facebook, but in their travels with Chitty he discovers she has been learning about Egyptology and meteorology, and become fluent in French and Arabic! 

The story is inventive, funny, fast paced, and is perfect for reading aloud for all the family to enjoy, or for children aged 8+ to keep to themselves.

Review date:
Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again by Frank Cottrell Boyce