Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again by Frank Cottrell Boyce

I had one of these.

My dad worked for Samsonite.  In 1969 the company transferred him to Mexico City, so he packed up our family and moved us from Denver to one of the largest cities in the world.  The movie theatres in Mexico City were GRAND.  They had ushers to seat you, etc.  It was in one of these theatres that I saw a movie that made me love cinema for the rest of my live.  Close to the middle of the movie the family car, being driven by Caractacus Potts, goes off a cliff; and instead of crashing , it flies!  I was hooked.  The movie of course was Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.  Ian Fleming was the author of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and James Bond.  To be honest I have never read anything written by the author, but I love movies based on his work.  (Except for Moonraker, and a couple of other really BAD Bond movies.  Yes, I am looking forward to Skyfall the new Bond movie.)  Just like today there were toy tie-ins to the movie.  I had a model Chitty Chitty Bang Bang car just like the one in the picture.  It was so cool because when I pushed the button wings popped out just like in the movie!

Anyhow, I was at The Bookies and saw Chitty Chitty Bang Bang Flies Again by  Frank Cottrell Boyce.  I really enjoyed Cosmic, so I was excited that he wrote the book about a beloved character.  Ian Fleming’s estate authorized the sequel.  The new book takes place in modern day Britain.  The Tooting family is your typical 21st century family.  Mum, Dad, Lucy, Jem (short for Jeremy) and Little Harry have no idea that when Dad looses his job; and Mum brings home an old Volkswagen van that they are in for an adventure of a lifetime.  Since Dad was fired because his hands were too big to do his job he restores the old van.  During the first test drive Dad and Jem realize the spark plugs need to be replaced.  They head off to a junkyard to find the parts, but end up with a racing engine instead.  Yes, it is Chitty.  As you can imagine the fun is just beginning. 

With his new freedom from the work force, Dad and family decide to head out on an adventure.  The first stop is Paris.  Given that Chitty is involved they don’t get to Paris the typical way.  In fact, they end up landing on the top of the Eiffel Tower.  Soon after they arrive a mysterious man named Tiny Jack wants to buy the van.  After leaving Paris they head for Egypt.  Lucy has always wanted to see the Pyramids. She is very morose.  Where is the Cure when you need them? 

A series of events happen and they end up at Tiny Jack’s very large house.  I don’t want to give too much away.  I will tell you that Dad and Mum leave for a night out on the town in an Aston Martin DB5.  It comes equipped with all the extras.  I love the connection to Ian Flemings other character.  Their leaving leaves the children in a bad situation.  Of course we all know who saves the day.

At first I was unsure about the book.  I thought the Tooting name was too close to the song Toot Sweets from the original movie.  So, I kept expecting a family connection.  Once I got over that and realized that it was car parts that were the connection I quickly fell in love with this book.  It is funny, thoughtful, and silly.  I know a few kids that will find the book truly scrumptious.

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