I am a fan of the author’s writing, especially Cosmic, and I have such fond memories of Ian Fleming’s Chitty Chitty Bang Bang: The Magical Car, that I was eager to read this new book. Before reading it, I pulled out my 1964 edition of Fleming’s book with the whimsical illustrations by John Burmingham, and reread. Great, on to the new Chitty book. At first, I was so disappointed. The illustrations do not match the original and the writing style is different. But I got over the differences and truly enjoyed the adventure. This time around, the dad is newly laid off and to keep him occupied, his wife gets him a clunker camper van to fix up. He finds an engine in a junk yard that we later learn came from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. The camper van takes flight and sets about finding its original body parts. The first stop is Paris for the headlights, then on to Egypt for the tires. There is a weirdly evil character bent on stealing the van and separates the parents from the children. The clever children with their easy going approach to danger help Chitty restore herself. The illustrations do fit the story nicely and the writing is lighthearted, fun and engaging. The story is left open for more adventures that I hope to go on with this uniquely positive, quirky family and brilliant car.
NetGalley review Publication date 3.13.12